Strike Averted At North Norfolk After Last Ditch Talks

strikeA strike by GMB members employed by Kier Environmental services on the North Norfolk refuse and recycling contract set for today (Monday 24 October) has been averted.

Strike action was due to take place in support of a pay claim by workers to earn the same as colleagues in Kings Lynn but members have agreed a two-year deal that will achieve this.

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

“This has been a long negotiation that began in July 2015 and resolved just two days before action was due to begin. I am very proud of the resolve and solidarity shown by our members during this dispute.”

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 utmost to offset any potential impact on service.”

GMB, however, refuted this, saying the statements were “inaccurate”.

GMB now says that Kier were “finally able to bring an offer to the table that we could recommend and our members were willing to accept.”

Ivan Mercer, GMB regional organiser said: “This has been a long negotiation that began in July 2015 and resolved just two days before action was due to begin. I am very proud of the resolve and solidarity shown by our members during this dispute.

“There are still a few industrial relations issues to iron out but I am optimistic that these problems can be resolved. Now that our members have demonstrated to Kier that they are willing to support themselves and each other, it would be foolhardy of the company to dismiss their concerns of bullying taking place at the depot.”

Send this to a friend