Britain’s biggest union, Unite, is urging Amey to return to the negotiating table in order to halt an unprecedented week of strikes over pay and collective bargaining.
The company, which manages 30,000 miles of highway across the UK – gritting roads and maintaining crash barriers – is under pressure to honour existing collective agreements and give workers a decent pay rise, as Unite announced a seven day strike for early next month (from 06:00 on Monday 2 March).
Unite members with Amey at four depots in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire are today (Monday 23 February 2015) staging their fourth planned 24-hour strike after talks brought insufficient movement on pay.
Employees rejected an offer short of the five per cent pay increase needed to reflect the near static settlements of recent times which have seen wages fall in real terms.
The company has also failed to address its attempts to dismantle long-established arrangements on collective bargaining which had been working well under Carillion before being Tupe transferred over to Amey in April 2014.
Amey wishes to put new starters on contracts which allow directors alone to determine pay year-on-year. Unite believes the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement is a fundamental issue and undermining it is totally unacceptable.
Commenting, Unite regional officer Richard Gates said:
“My door is always open for talks to resolve this dispute. However Amey needs to realise that workers have been hit hard in recent years over pay and are not prepared to accept a settlement that in effect means no real-terms increase, while company directors are paid over a million pounds and see their salary ramped up by 65 per cent in four years.
“We also urge Amey to recognise that the future of the collective bargaining agreement is of fundamental importance. This dispute will not be resolved unless the company moves on this issue.
“The fight will continue, the feeling among our members is as strong as when we started, if not stronger. 74 per cent of our members backed this strike on the back of a 100 per cent turnout.
“In addition new members have been joining Unite since the dispute began, something which shows the strength of feeling among workers.”
The four depots involved are Breakspear at Hemel Hempstead, Whittlesford in Cambridgeshire, Sandy depot in Bedfordshire and Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire.
Unite members are taking strike action today (Monday 23 February 2015 from 06:00 to 18.:00) and in a seven day stoppage from 06:00 on Monday 2 March 2015.
For further information contact Douglas Beattie in the Unite Press Office on 020 3371 2058.
Notes to editors
- 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.