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Hackney housing bosses refuse to negotiate in electric...

Hackney housing bosses refuse to negotiate in electricians’ dispute, as ‘potential blackout’ looms

10 July 2014

Stubborn Hackney housing bosses’ refusal to enter into talks over large wage losses for electricians will hit electrical maintenance to hundreds of homes in the borough in the coming week.

Twenty-one electricians, employed by Hackney Homes, will strike for two 24 hour periods, tomorrow (Friday 11 July) and again on Monday (14 July), as the three-year dispute comes to a head.

Unite, the country’s largest union, which represents the electricians, called for talks with reconciliation service Acas, but the union say that Hackney Homes has continually refused to negotiate and made no progress towards resolving the dispute since members voted unanimously for strike action.

In a bid to resolve the dispute Unite has called on Hackney’s Mayor, Jules Pipe, to intervene, otherwise Hackney council residents could find vital electrical repairs not being carried out.

The background to the dispute is the target culture imposed by Hackney council housing bosses which has meant some electricians losing 20 per cent of their income.

The electricians, who respond to electrical faults and help bring vacant properties to a decent standard ready for new residents, are unhappy and demotivated since having unrealistic targets imposed on them in November 2012.

The Hackney housing bosses have also taken disciplinary action against almost half of the electricians for failing to meet these unfair targets. Discussions over these issues have been continuing for three years without resolution.

The strikes will run from 06.00 on Friday 11 July until 06.00 on Saturday 12 July, and again from 06.00 on Monday 14 July until 06.00 on Tuesday 15 July 2014.

There will also be action short of strike which will include a call out ban and an overtime ban from 06.00 on Friday 11 July until 06.00 on Tuesday 15 July 2014. 

Unite regional officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, said: “Our members have been very patient and loyal after waiting three years for a solution to this dispute. After the disciplining of electricians for failing to meet these unfair targets and the loss of thousands of pounds from their pay packets, we have no choice but to call for two 24 hour stoppages for Hackney electricians.

“Our members are very conscious that their actions will hit council tenants in Hackney who rely on the electrical systems in their homes to keep them safe and sound, as well as the risk that without maintenance, some residents could face a potential electrical blackout.

“Members are not asking for a pay rise or even for compensation for their loss of pay, but for fair targets and to not face disciplinary action for failure to meet the impossible.

“We want the chance to resolve the dispute through constructive and meaningful talks but management is intransigent and has even refused to go to Acas.

“If talks at Acas can resolve matters for other workers, why is that not good enough for the Hackney electricians?

“We believe this dispute can be resolved through discussion and negotiation, rather than taking strike action, but hardline bosses have left us with no choice.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Unite communications officer, Rae Passfield on 020 3371 2051 and/or Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite regional officer on 07771 656 692.

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1

Notes to Editors:

The first industrial action was strike action which took place 6 and 9 June 2014.

There will be a picket line outside the Florfield Road Depot, Hackney, London, E8 1BJ on 11 July 2014 and 14 July 2014 from 07:00.

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.