Trade union demands overdue remuneration or face strike action

Unite the union confirmed today (7 August) over 200 craft members employed by West Lothian Council are being balloted on strike action in a dispute over money-owed under the terms of a collective agreement covering the workforce.

The dispute centres on the failure by West Lothian Council to remunerate craft workers carrying out additional tasks under the terms of Craft Agreement 2007. The craft workforce includes joiners, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, bricklayers, skilled labourers, blacksmiths, and heating engineers. 

The ballot for industrial action opens today (7 August) and ends on 29 August.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “West Lothian Council refuses to this day to remunerate workers under the terms of an agreement established in 2007. The Council continues to ignore its obligation to pay up. This is unacceptable which is why we are balloting over 200 craft workers on strike action. We will back our members all the way in the fight to have their jobs, pay and conditions respected and honoured.”    

Any disruption caused by industrial action will directly impact Housing Services and council buildings. Council house repairs will be significantly delayed and empty houses will remain unfit to be let out. The trade union further claims that untrained workers could be left to carry out work in council homes at various times up to 8pm in the evening.

Graeme Turnbull, Unite industrial officer, added: West Lothian Council has repeatedly failed to respect the terms of the Craft Agreement which covers the workforce. This dispute isn’t about an annual pay negotiation but over money owed. Pure and simple. We are now at a point where the workforce no longer trusts the Council to do the right thing and that’s why we have been left with no option but to ballot over strike action.”