Unite, the country’s largest union, called for ‘urgent and constructive’ talks with EDF Energy, as nearly 500 workers took strike action today (Monday 16 June) in a three-pronged pay dispute.
The employees in the London, South Eastern, South West and Eastern regions started their 24 hour strike at 00.01 today which will mean delays in fixing and installing meters for customers.
Revenue protection will also be hit – as the workers going on strike include those dealing with business owners and private customers who are allegedly fiddling and stealing electricity.
The strike went ahead after talks last week, under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas, between Unite and EDF Energy broke down. The union says the crux of the dispute is the company’s failure to abide by an agreement made in 2012.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Today’s strike is very solid and sends out a clear message to management that they need to get around the table for urgent and constructive talks, otherwise more industrial action will go-ahead.”
Today’s strike will be followed by selective industrial action and a work-to-rule which starts immediately afterwards. There will be strike action from tomorrow (Tuesday 17 June) to 27 June involving around 12 meter readers working from the Camden depot in central London.
The members taking this action work on an appointment basis and if they do not carry out work on time, EDF will be liable to fines. The action will be escalated on 23 June, when they will be joined by 20 more meter readers from Bexleyheath in a week of strike action, with further escalation on the cards.
From tomorrow, Unite is instructing members to take action short of strike action on a continuous basis. The dispute has already seen two days of strike action at the beginning of May.
Onay Kasab said: “Workers are taking action because EDF is refusing to honour an agreement it freely signed and to make matters even worse the company is offering a pay deal for 2013 which does not even keep up with the ever rising cost of living.
“The strike today is even better supported than the two days in May which shows the depth of anger at the company’s behavior.”
The dispute has three elements:
• 2013 pay offer of two per cent and a non-consolidated, one off payment of £200 for the year April 2013 to April 2014
• South Eastern pay. This was due to be resolved in the 2012 agreement. The employers agreed to look at the pay difference between this group and London colleagues – but have not done so
• Eastern revenue protection team. Having signed the 2012 agreement, EDF then said that it could not afford to pay it to this group of workers.
The EDF centres that will be affected by the industrial action are at: Heath House, 255 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent, BA6 8ET; Bangor Wharf, Georgiana Street, London, NW1 0QS; Atlantic House, Henson Road, Three Bridges, Crawley, RH10 1QQ; Unit 7, Anglo Office Park, Clarence Road, Speedwell, Bristol, BS15 1NT; Osprey House, Osprey Road, Exeter, EX2 7WN; Gadeon House, Grenadier Road, Exeter Business Park, Exeter, EX1 3UT; and 334 Outland Road, Plymouth, PL3 5TU.
For further information please contact Unite regional officer Onay Kasab on 07771 818637 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
• 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.