Potential Strike Action Over Kier May Gurney Waste Worker Pay

GMB members employed by Kier May Gurney on the refuse and recycling contract for North Somerset Council have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in the unresolved dispute on pay from April 2014. 

Over 90% voted for action in the ballot being conducted by EBRS, which closed on 27 January.

The 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.

Kier 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 review, due from 1 April 2014, were protracted for several reason. When the outcome was put to GMB members earlier this year they rejected the final offer by a 90% majority. When this rejection was conveyed to the employer the response was that the offer was a final offer and that no improvement was on offer.

Adie Baker, GMB Regional Officer – “GMB members have votes overwhelmingly to take industrial action as a last resort in this pay dispute… I will now convey the result of this ballot vote to the company with a request that they heed it and offer further talks to resolve the dispute”

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.

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 members have votes overwhelmingly to take industrial action as a last resort in this pay dispute.

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”

“I will now convey the result of this ballot vote to the company with a request that they heed it and offer further talks to resolve the dispute.

“If there is no movement industrial action is inevitable which will have a significant impact on the residents of North Somerset. I hope the company will take steps to avert this.”

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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