About 300 engineering service workers, employed by the lift firm Kone, are on strike today (Tuesday 7 April) in a dispute over a tracker device in their vehicles, known as VAMS, which their union, Unite, says is an unreliable method for measuring workloads.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said that VAMS should not be used to verify time sheets, and site arrival and leaving times as it is unreliable – for example, one driver was alleged have driven 1,000 miles in one day – without refuelling. The union is not against the principle of VAMS when used for health and safety purposes.
Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “Evidence has shown the mileage recorded by VAMS for business or private use is not accurate and exaggerates the amount of mileage being completed. It is ‘a spy in the cab’ that does not function properly, so it is understandable that our members are angry.
“This will lead to employees being wrongly assessed for private mileage and could lead to wrong deductions from wages and ultimately disciplinary situations.”
Unite is calling for a new framework document to iron out the problems with VAMS which, the union says, the ‘hard-line’ management is currently refusing. There is already a framework agreement for handheld devices – and Unite is looking for a similar agreement for VAMS.
Unite’s members, who service lifts, doors and escalators across the UK, including at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, struck for two days last week and the current strike will end at 06.00 tomorrow (Wednesday 8 April). The workers are also instituting a continuous overtime ban, and banning on call and night-time call-out.
Further strikes over the next 12 weeks are on the cards, unless there is an agreement.
The workers voted by 81 per cent for strike action and by 91 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.
The main Kone sites are at Chertsey in Surrey, Gateshead, Glasgow, Keighley in Yorkshire and Warrington.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 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.