A 12-hour strike by Croydon drivers and escorts, who transport clients such as disabled children, will be staged tomorrow (Friday 3 July) against the tight-fisted Impact Group which refuses to pay the London ‘living wage’ (LLW).
The 16 workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike from 12.00 noon until midnight tomorrow in their long-running campaign for the LLW of £9.15 an hour. They have already taken three days of strike action in the spring.
Unite points out that Croydon council, which awarded the contract to the Impact Group, is a ‘living wage’ employer – and therefore this should also apply to private contractors working for the local authority.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This has been a long and bitter campaign to win the London ‘living wage’, which this tight-fisted Scrooge employer refuses to pay.
“Impact is adamantly refusing to talk with Unite or even go for talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas.
“We made a pay claim to the employer asking for the LLW and an equivalent pay rise for those already on the LLW. We also asked for backdating to last year as staff have not had a pay increase for at least three years.
“The employer has so far refused to negotiate. Instead, senior managers have turned up on previous strike days and buy breakfast for strike breakers.
“Croydon council is a ‘living wage’ employer, so the rate should apply to all its contractors.”
The dispute comes against the backdrop of a Fair Deal For Local Government campaign by Unite’s London and Eastern region which has almost 300,000 members. The campaign is aimed against privatisation and austerity in local government.
The campaign is a set of proposals that Unite is putting to councils in the region. It is a procurement strategy to ensure that quality services are maintained and that there is no ‘race to the bottom’ for pay and conditions post any transfer.
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 2061 or 07768 693940.
The main points of Fair Deal For Local Government campaign are:
• if services are performing well, leave them in house
• if they are not performing well, look at ways of putting it right in house
• when contracting out services, over 50 per cent of the consideration should be about quality rather than cost
• fair employment rights for transferred staff – no zero hours contracts, pay the ‘living wage’, no downward pay and conditions harmonisation
The campaign website is http://uniteforpublicservices.org/index.php
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.