A week-long strike by EDF Energy workers carrying out Smart meter installations, due to start on Monday (30 November), has been suspended for talks to take place with the conciliation service, Acas.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Friday 27 November) that it met the company yesterday and it was agreed that three days of talks would take place under the auspices of Acas on 8, 9 and 10 December. As a result, strike action has been suspended.
About 70 staff at EDF headquarters at Bexleyhealth, Kent and Canning Town, east London were due to strike from 00.01 on Monday 30 November until 23.59 on Friday 4 December.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We welcome the forthcoming talks with Acas and so they can take place the week-long strike, due to start on Monday, has been suspended.
“Unite will be entering into these negotiations in a constructive and positive fashion to reach a fair and equable settlement.
“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 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.
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.
- 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.