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East Sussex Kier Strike Called Off

Thursday, March 19, 2015

GMB Call Off Strike Action At Kier East Sussex To Allow More Time For Company To Address Workforce Concerns

The movement by the company on the main points outlined in the discussions gives an opportunity for industrial relations on this contract to return to normality says GMB

GMB has called off strike action scheduled for 19th and 20th of March and 25th, 26th and 27th of March for 154 GMB members employed by Kier Environmental Services on refuse contracts in Hastings, Rother, and Eastbourne. This is after progress in talks to resolve a dispute over the failure to address serious health and safety concerns as well as reports of wide-spread bullying and intimidation. See notes to editors for copy of previous GMB press releases on the dispute.

Charles Harrity, GMB senior organiser, said “Following negotiations with Kier Environmental the company agreed that there were genuine grievances within the workforce.

As a result of the discussions the company has agreed to a health and safety audit of the recycling vehicles, they have introduced a dignity at work policy and are rolling out a training programme for mangers and staff. Furthermore the company agreed that requests for personal protection equipment should not be subject to negative comments and that such equipment should be readily available.

This week has seen all of the above action points rolled out as a result of these positive moves by the company the GMB and the members have cancelled any proposed action.

The movement by the company on the main points outlined in the discussions gives an opportunity for industrial relations on this contract to return to normality.

GMB members took their decision to move to industrial action because of their very real fears and frustrations at the failure of the company to address their concerns. Now that there seems to be progress on a number of points the GMB will look to maintain the positive momentum that we have achieved."    

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Contact: Gary Cook, GMB Organiser on 07712 677594 or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977 518042 or GMB press office: 07974 251823.

Notes to editors

Copy of previous GMB press releases:

GMB press release dated 11th March

GMB SUSPEND STRIKE ACTION FOR 13TH/14TH MARCH AT KIER EAST SUSSEX TO ALLOW MORE TIME FOR COMPANY TO ADDRESS WORKFORCE CONCERNS

Should Kier not action proposals as soon as possible members have made it clear that they are prepared to take action on the other five days already notified to company says GMB

Following talks GMB has suspended strike action on 12th and 13th March for 154 GMB members employed by Kier Environmental Services on refuse contracts in Hastings, Rother, and Eastbourne in a dispute is over the failure to address serious health and safety concerns as well as reports of wide-spread bullying and intimidation. See notes to editors for copy of previous GMB press releases on the dispute.

Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser, said “Following negotiations on the 10th of March GMB has agreed to suspend the proposed industrial action planned for the 12th and 13th of March. The suspension follows agreement reached during the negotiations around Health and Safety pay and bullying and intimidation. The company has put in place a number of measures which go some way to addressing the grievances of the workforce.

The agreement to suspend the action only applies to the 12th and 13th of March. Should the Keir Environmental not action their proposals as soon as possible the GMB members have made it clear at meetings this morning that they are prepared to take action on the other days already notified to company. Strike action is scheduled for 19th and 20th of March and 25th, 26th and 27th of March.

This represents an opportunity for the company to address the outstanding issues which should help to rebuild confidence in the industrial relations process. GMB urges the company to act on this agreement as failure to do so would do more damage to the morale of staff and set industrial relations back further than they are now.”    

GMB press release dated 25th February 2015

GMB CALL FOR LAST DITCH TALKS TO AVERT STRIKE AT KEIR EAST SUSSEX AFTER MEMBERS VOTE FOR ACTION OVER FAILURE TO ADDRESS WORKFORCE CONCERNS

Official ballot result shows the workforce has reached breaking point and there is a lot pent up anger and frustration at the attitude of the company says GMB

154 GMB members employed by Kier Environmental Services on refuse contracts in Hastings, Rother, and Eastbourne have voted overwhelmingly in an official ballot for industrial action in a dispute is over the failure to address serious health and safety concerns as well as reports of wide-spread bullying and intimidation. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release of 5th February on the dispute.

The ballot result by area is as follows:

Eastbourne- 85.7% voted yes to take part in strike action and 90.5% in industrial action short of a strike.

Hastings - 85.7% voted yes to take part in strike action and 97.1% voted yes to take part in industrial action short of a strike.

Rother - 100% voted yes to take part in strike action and 100% voted yes to take part in industrial action short of a strike.

GMB is already in dispute with Kier over blacklisting at least 155 construction workers. Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

GMB held a protest demonstration at the company offices in Sandy, Bedfordshire in October 2014 to shame Paul McCreath, Human Resources Director and Kathy Almansoor, Group Employee Relations Manager for their part in blacklisting.

Paul McCreath was Human Resources Operations Manager for HBG Construction / BAM from 1998 until 2009 and Kathy Almansoor has been Group Employee Relations Manager at Kier since 2002. Paul McCreath is now Human Resources Director at Kier Group having been with them since 2009. They have yet to come clean and apologise for their part in the hurt and damage caused by their current and former employers who were involved in blacklisting at least 155 workers.
 

Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser said “ The refuse street cleansing and recycling contracts in Eastbourne, Hastings and Rother covering local authorities in East Sussex have been beset by problems from the outset.

This is as a result of Keir ignoring the concerns of staff related to the conditions of work or treatment of their staff.

Keir seem to be trying to ignore the problems rather than dealing with them. The official ballot result shows the workforce have reached breaking point and there is a lot pent up anger and frustration at the attitude of the company.

GMB calls on the company to recognise that there are real industrial relations problems on these contracts and to avoid a complete breakdown in industrial relations they need to meet with the GMB and all local GMB representatives sooner rather than later so that the immediate problems can be addressed and a way forward can be agreed."
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Copy of GMB press release dated 5th February.

Thursday 5th February 2015

GMB Members To Be Balloted For Industrial Action In East Sussex Waste Partnership Over Action On Hazards And Bullying

 

GMB members are rightly angry at the lack of response and the seeming disregard that Kier management have for the concerns and well-being of their staff says GMB

GMB, the trade union for refuse and recycling workers, is holding a industrial action ballot of 154 GMB members, employed over three contracts in the partnership, by Kier Environmental Services on the East Sussex Waste Partnership contract.

The ballot will close on Tuesday 24th February 2015.

Kier Environmental Services has refused to act on or take the concerns of GMB members over health and safety, and wide spread intimidation and bullying by local managers seriously.

Gary Cook, GMB Regional Organiser said, “GMB told Keir’s Regional Contracts Manager and the HR Business Manager some weeks ago of the concerns of GMB members, the company has not addressed any of the issues in a meaningful manner.

GMB members are rightly angry at the lack of response and the seeming disregard that Kier management have for the concerns and wellbeing of their staff. This has led them to an overwhelming mandate for GMB to ballot for industrial action.

As a result of bullying and intimidating attitudes of Kier management a number of GMB members have been signed off sick with stress. Some staff have turned up for work and then had to go home because of the way they get treated.

Despite agreeing with GMB that the bins used for glass recycling can present a danger from falling glass when lifted, Keir have taken no steps to address this issue which puts both GMB members and general public at risk.”

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