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Cleaners kicking up some dust
UK cleaners have got their union involved in a couple of disputes this week, with one group currently on strike (unless the strike action has been averted between writing this piece and Cleanzine's subsequent broadcast).
In the first dispute, some 100 bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services department were due to take strike action from 06:00 today until 22:00 tomorrow in a dispute over a £1,000 a year cut in contractual pay arising from what the union claims is the council cutting corners on the safety of refuse vehicles and those providing frontline services while creating four new "invisible posts that pay six figure salaries."
The strikes follow what we are told were "no talks" at ACAS (the reconciliatory body) which could have averted 10 days of strikes. We understand from the GMB union, that council representatives failed to make it to the ACAS offices for talks on Tuesday but that another meeting has been convened for next week.
The talks has been called to avert a further 10 days of strike action after GMB gave notice this two-day strike and a further eight-day strike from 06:00 on Friday 1st May to 22:00 on Friday 8th May. The drivers have already taken five days of strike action in this dispute and it appears from an independent online survey that they have the support of 75% of the local community, which shows the high esteem held for the council employees who carry out such a valuable role in the community in which they all live and serve.
Elsewhere, the union is raising a complaint on behalf of members employed by contractor ISS at Kingston and Woolwich Hospitals, that staff are not being issued with payslips as required by law. The workers are employed by ISS as cleaners, caterers, porters, security guards and parking attendants at Kingston hospital and as cleaners, security guards, ward hostesses, caterers, porters and switchboard workers at Woolwich hospital.
GMB last month suspended a five day strike for over 250 members working for ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich due to start on 9th March, following an inflation-busting pay offer which has now been accepted.
These workers took five days of strike action late last year to secure the end of the two tier workforce.
Mick Foote, GMB Regional Officer, says: "ISS are breaking the law at Kingston and Woolwich Hospital. Instead of issuing itemised pay statements as required by law ISS staff wanting to see their payslip have to view it on a computer or mobile phone.
"We have come across this before with ISS.
"GMB will take up an official complaint as a large number of staff can't access their payslips. This is because they have no access for a variety of reasons to internet devices so by default they cannot view a payslip."
23rd April 2015