Barking & Dagenham
GMB and T&G union members who work for Barking & Dagenham council in east London have voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot for strike action over single status and equal pay claims.
Justin Bowden, the GMB’s senior organiser, said, “I have run many ballots but never had such an overwhelming result as this one.
“The message is clear to the council and it must take notice of it.
“If not, then 2007 will begin with the very real possibility of strike action that would close schools and all services including dust and street cleansing, parks, libraries and offices.”
Workers have rejected Bradford council’s offer over single status. The Unison union is to press ahead with equal pay claims on behalf of staff in jobs such as care work, cleaning and catering.
Patrick Kerry, Unison rep, said the latest offer of £3-9,000 a person, depending on grade, was unacceptable. The figure is based on full time staff in service for six years.
“We are still pressing ahead for restitution rather than compensation,” he said.
“The council can afford to meet its financial obligations to its female workers, but does it want to?
“The initial offer substantially undervalues a larger number of claims and Unison will act to bring justice for its women members.”
Workers at Fife council have voted to reject the local authority’s single status offer.
Members of the Unison, T&G and GMB unions voted against the deal by 2,627 to 2,473 on a 57.3 percent turn-out.
However, union officials have agreed implementation of the single status grading structures. Terms and conditions have not been agreed.
Over 17,000 workers will be affected by the deal.
One council worker said, “We were pleased it was a no vote because it gives us a little hope that Fife council will find a better way of making the changes.
“But we know it wants to implement the changes at the beginning of April and that’s only 12 weeks away. We are not holding our breath for good news.
“We are expecting a lot more trouble before this is resolved.”
Bromley council in Kent is in negotiations with unions over single status.
Glenn Kelly, the Bromley Unison branch secretary, said, “If it is necessary, we would consider strike action. Some councils have decided to employ bullying tactics and if they try this they would undoubtedly face mass action.”