Last Ditch Talks At Kier May Gurney Over Pay Dispute

Last ditch talks will be held today (6th February 2015) in the unresolved dispute on pay for 70 GMB members employed by Kier May Gurney on the refuse and recycling contract for North Somerset Council.

GMB members were balloted for strike action in the dispute on pay, which is unresolved from April 2014. The ballot closed on 28 January with a 93.5% yes vote for strike action.

Failing a “satisfactory offer” GMB will serve formal notice of industrial action on the company and arrange a Shop Stewards meeting to decide on the dates and form of that industrial action that will definitely include strike action, says GMB

At talks earlier this week (3 February) held at the Weston-Super-Mare with Senior Kier May Gurney managers, GMB put forward a number of proposals on behalf of GMB members at the kerbside collection depot and the household waste recycling centres.

GMB expects a “significantly improved” offer resulting from proposals at the talks today.

Adie Baker, GMB – “GMB has negotiated in good faith and has made it quite clear that if Kier May Gurney is serious about avoiding strike action, it must come back to the table on Friday 6 Feburary with a significantly improved offer”

Should this not be the case GMB says it will serve formal notice of industrial action on the company.

GMB members are employed on the refuse contract for kerbside collection across North Somerset and in the household waste recycling centres in Weston Super Mare, Backwell and Portishead.

Keir May Gurney has had the contract with North Somerset Council since 2010 and the current contract runs until 2017, with an option to extend for a further seven years.

Negotiation on the pay review, due from 1 April 2014, were protracted for several reasons. When the outcome of talks was put to GMB members earlier this year they rejected the offer by a 90% majority. When this rejection was conveyed to the employer the response was that it was a final offer and that no improvement would be made.

The company has refused a GMB request for information on the cost of the paybill and other information relevant to the negotiations that it has a legal duty to supply to assist negotiations. GMB has begun proceedings at the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to secure this information.

GMB is already in dispute with Kier over blacklisting at least 155 construction workers.

A Kier spokesperson – “We have been in active discussions with our employees and the GMB since April 2014 to try to reach a resolution, and have made repeated offers as part of that process. Most recently, we made an increased offer ranging from 1.3% to 1.8%, which was in line with the original guidance given by the GMB”

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

GMB held a protest demonstration at the company offices in Sandy, Bedfordshire in October over the blacklisting.

Adie Baker, GMB Regional Officer said, “GMB has negotiated in good faith and has made it quite clear that if Kier May Gurney is serious about avoiding strike action, it must come back to the table on Friday 6 Feburary with a significantly improved offer.

“Failing a satisfactory offer that GMB can put to its members for their consideration. GMB will arrange a Shop Stewards meeting to decide on the dates and form of industrial action that will definitely include strike action.”

A Kier spokesperson said: “We have been in active discussions with our employees and the GMB since April 2014 to try to reach a resolution, and have made repeated offers as part of that process. Most recently, we made an increased offer ranging from 1.3% to 1.8%, which was in line with the original guidance given by the GMB.

“We are disappointed to hear that 29 GMB members have voted for strike action out of our 173-strong workforce, because we have listened to our employees, have been keen to engage with the GMB to reach a solution, and have made, what we believe, is a fair and workable offer.

“We remain in active dialogue with the GMB and are fully committed to ongoing negotiations. If the GMB choose not to continue with negotiations and formally notify us of industrial action, we have a full contingency plan to maintain continuity of service for the communities we serve.”


 

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