Private housing contractor Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working, are accused of issuing ‘crazy car clamping’ threats to striking workers. Unite, the UK’s largest union, has said the threats have backfired and only increased the resolve of the workforce.
The workers are today (Thursday 18 May) holding their second day of strike action. The first day of action was on Monday 15 May. The workers have now embarked on a rolling programme of strike action. Strike action will take place on Monday, Thursday and Friday until the dispute is resolved.
Management has insisted that all workers return their vans to the main depot at Hendonvale, before each strike. The workers have also been told that if they leave their private vehicle in the staff car park when they return to work on Tuesday 23 May they will be clamped.
The dispute concerns workers being paid different rates for the same work. Pay differentials can be up to £3,500 per annum.
Currently the workforce is free to park in the staff car park without sanction.
The requirement to leave the vans in the depot has also led to health and safety concerns as the workers’ own tools are not insured when they are left in the van. The workers will be required to carry their own tools to and from the depot on public transport, risking injury and potentially causing problems and inconvenience to other passengers.
Unite regional official Gary Fairclough, said: “If management thought that their crazy car clamping threats would undermine our dispute they were entirely mistaken. These threats have backfired and have reinforced our members’ determination.
“Rather than spending time dreaming up petty punishments, management should instead be working on new proposals to end the dispute and arranging fresh talks.
“This is a long running dispute which management have had years to resolve. Rather than tackle the problem of unfair and unjust pay differentials they instead buried their heads in the sand.”
Notes to editors:
Mears is seeking to introduce a new contract that requires workers to have greater flexibility in shift working, work longer hours, weekend working and requires a greater use of technology, without any real increase in pay.
Mears is also seeking to introduce a ‘productivity procedure’ which has been branded a ‘sackers charter’ by the workforce and has been pressurising workers to accept poorer conditions regarding sick pay and vehicle policies.
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. 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.