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Bosses’ ‘bad faith’ sparks energy staff strike in ‘col...

Bosses’ ‘bad faith’ sparks energy staff strike in ‘collecting Smart meters from supermarkets’ dispute

25 November 2015

A week-long strike by EDF Energy workers carrying out Smart meter installations is back on due to management’s ‘bad faith’, Unite, the country’s largest union, has said.

Staff had suspended the week-long strike last month, after the company was said to have made ‘a major concession’ – but Unite has now accused the bosses of bad faith by not sticking to the wording of the agreement that resulted in the suspension.

About 70 staff at EDF headquarters at Bexleyhealth, Kent and Canning Town, east London will now strike from 00.01 on Monday 30 November until 23.59 on Friday 4 December.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This one is back on again. It’s the same dispute. The action is back on because the employer did not stick to the original wording that led to the suspension of the previous strike. It’s a case of the employer again not sticking to an agreement.

“Bad faith from the company has plagued this dispute, despite the best efforts of the conciliation service, Acas and now our members have said ‘enough is enough’ and will be taking a week’s strike action from 30 November.

“While there is a list of grievances, the most important one for our members is working hours. The company wanted later working and increased Saturday working.

“The agreement we thought we had was that current working patterns for existing staff will remain as they are until July 2017 at which point there will be a review – apparently, this is not now the case.”

The dispute is multi-layered, and could affect nearly 500 staff across London, and southern and western England.

Highly profitable EDF Energy also wants to close the Bangor Wharf depot in east London, as a prelude to closing all depots with the aim, says the union, of meter staff collecting their equipment from special lockers at supermarkets and petrol stations. Other elements in the dispute are pay cuts and job losses.
 
Unite members had voted by a margin of 85 per cent for strike action and 92 per cent were in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The EDF Energy sites that are affected by the company’s proposals are:

Broadway, Bexley Heath, Kent, DA6 8ET; Georgiana Street, London NW1 0QS; Three Bridges, Crawley RH10 1QQ; Speedwell, Bristol BS15 1NT; Osprey Road, Exeter EX2 7WN; Exeter Business Park, Exeter EX1 3UT; Outland Road, Plymouth PL3 5TU; Portland Road, Hove,
East Sussex BN3 5S; and Canning Town, London E16 4TL.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite regional officer Onay Kasab on 07771 818637 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.