Kier’s North Norfolk Refuse Workers Vote To Strike [UPDATED]

strikeGMB members employed by Kier Environmental Services who provide the refuse and recycling collection services to North Norfolk District Council have voted to take strike action over pay.

The dispute over pay has caused “deteriorating industrial relations”, resulting in workers feeling bullied and harassed, according to GMB.

Ninety three percent of those balloted voted in favour of continuous strike action.

GMB said it will be attending ACAS conciliation with the company on 6th October, which will include the industrial relations element and hopefully an acceptable offer can be achieved.

“Two offers that barely put members above the minimum wage have already been rejected and members are sick of feeling undervalued by the company”

However, if no acceptable offer is forthcoming, strike action is likely to commence on the 31st of October.

Ivan Mercer, GMB regional organiser, said: “These negotiations have been protracted by the company’s refusal to offer a reasonable pay increase. Two offers that barely put members above the minimum wage have already been rejected and members are sick of feeling undervalued by the company.

“North Norfolk District Council have reserves available to finance a reasonable rate of pay but Kier appear unwilling to speak with them about renegotiating the terms of the contract. The high turnout and acceptance of industrial strike action is a clear indicator to the company of GMB members resolve to achieve a decent rate of pay.”

In January this year, Kier crews in Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) also took industrial action over pay, which resulted in tonnes recycling left uncollected.

[Updaed 5 Oct]

Julian Tranter, managing director, Kier Environmental Services told CIWM Journal Online: “The North Norfolk refuse collection team pay increases are set by the public sector pay standard known as the National Joint Council (NJC) agreement. The GMB, alongside UNITE, Unison and other public sector bodies agreed the 2016/17 NJC increase of 2.4% over 2 years (1.2% in 2016 and 1.2% in 2017), earlier this year. So we were understandably surprised when locally 26 GMB members out of our 106 employees, voted to strike and reject the pay increase already negotiated through their union.

“We already pay all of our team at least the Living Wage, and over 80% of the team are paid above the Living Wage. In addition, we have offered a higher increase of between 3.5-4.2%, as an alternative to the NJC offer if they want to leave the NJC system, to try to respond to local GMB concerns. But the GMB have also rejected this, instead demanding an increase of 20%. We have tried to keep a dialogue open but it seems that this minority group want to pursue strike action. We will continue to pursue resolution, and in the interim will do our upmost to offset any potential impact on service.”

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