Faulty gas and electricity meters for households and businesses won’t be replaced as meter fixers working for energy giant E.ON go on strike in a ‘work/life balance’ dispute tomorrow (Friday 10 June).
Nearly 400 meter fixers across England and Wales, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will be striking from 06.00 tomorrow until 23.59 on Monday (13 June).
Unite members, 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 said that its members regarded this as ‘the thin end of the wedge’ which management could exploit in the future to extend working hours even further and was an attack on the ‘work/life balance’ by this highly-profitable company.
Homes and businesses could find that 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 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.
“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’.
“The cost for E.ON could mount up as it will have to fork out about £40 to customers every time an appointment is cancelled or postponed as a result of the strike. It should not be forgotten that E.ON has five million customers in the UK.
“E.ON can resolve this dispute very swiftly by saying it will abandon the plans for the extra 30 minutes, three days-a-week.”
The Unite workforce 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