Faulty gas and electricity meters for households and businesses won’t be replaced as meter fixers working for energy giant E.ON stage a second four-day strike in the ‘work/life’ balance dispute.
Unite, the country’s largest union, blamed continuing intransigence by the management for sparking the second four-day strike starting at 06.00 Friday 1 July, ending at 23.59 on Monday 4 July. This follows on from a four-day strike earlier this month.
Nearly 400 meter fixers across England and Wales, in conjunction with the GMB and Unison, are taking strike action against proposals by E.ON bosses that they work half-an-hour extra three nights-a-week as part of a two per cent proposed pay deal for 2015.
Unite has said that its members regard this as ‘the thin end of the wedge’ which management could exploit in the future to extend working hours even further and is an attack on the ‘work/life balance’ by this highly-profitable company.
Homes and businesses could, again, find gas and electricity supplies being cut off if faulty meters are not replaced – although Unite has pledged that its members will respond to emergencies that threaten the elderly and vulnerable.
The strike could continue to prove costly to E.ON as it will have to pay compensation of about £40 for each customer who has their appointment with a meter fixer cancelled or postponed.
Unite regional officer Micky Tuff said: “Our members view this demand for an extra 30 minutes of work three nights-a-week as the thin end of the wedge – before you know it the bosses will be demanding an extra hour five days-a-week.
“We have held talks with the E.ON management since the previous four- day strike, but the bosses have dug their heels in. We have been forced into a corner by this hardline attitude, hence the upcoming four-day strike.
“Our members work a standard 37-hour week, but that could include a day starting at 8.00am and ending 12 hours later. They are now drawing a line in the sand over the issue of ‘work/life balance’.
“E.ON can resolve this dispute very swiftly by getting back around the table with the intention of abandoning the plans for the extra 30 minutes, three days-a-week.”
The Unite workforce had voted by 66 per cent to 33 per cent for strike action.
Notes to editors:
Unite workers will be picketing outside the E.ON sites at:
- I Parklands, Lobstock, Bolton, BL6 4SD
- Trinity House, 2 Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BX
241 High Street, Kingswinford, West Midlands, DY6 8BN
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.