Electricians employed by Amey who were outsourced from Sheffield City Council 18 months ago will be on strike tomorrow in a dispute over terms and conditions.
When Amey was awarded the 25 year street maintenance contract, the electricians, Unite members, were transferred in with their council terms and conditions protected by the TUPE Regulations.
Now, Amey is attempting to force electricians off council terms and conditions onto Amey’s. The proposal would actually slightly increase their pay – but they would have to work longer hours and have fewer holidays, so they would lose overall. The real sting in the deal is that Amey’s new disciplinary procedure could impose unacceptably severe sanctions – such as forfeiting their annual pay rise for up to three years!
‘Unite members at their depot see this dispute as crucial.’
A ballot of the Unite membership has returned an 8:1 vote in favour of industrial action. A last attempt was made to avert the strike, but Amey refused to back down. A second day of action is scheduled for 22 December. The rest of the Unite members at their depot see this dispute as crucial, believing that if Amey get its way with the electricians it will force similar conditions on the rest of the workforce.
A spokesperson for the strikers was quoted as saying: “We are talking much more inferior terms and conditions than the ones our members have fought for over several years. We are not going to flush those down the toilet for a bit more money. We thought we would get a deal and we heard this week that it would not happen. Our members felt they had no option other than to take strike action.”
Sheffield Trade Union Council is backing the electricians. Martin Mayer, STUC Secretary, said, “Sheffield Trade Union Council backs this dispute by Unite members who are only trying to hold onto what they’ve got and not see their conditions torn apart by new private owner Amey. We call on Amey to back off and live up to their promise not to attack terms and conditions when they took over the contract from Sheffield City Council.”
The STUC says letters of support can be sent direct to Unite convenor Mark Keeling, email@example.com. A picket line will be mounted at Olive Grove Council Depot, opposite the First bus garage, Olive Grove Road, Sheffield.