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New ACAS Talks Over Barking and Dagenham Dispute

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Third Set Of Talks At ACAS On April 30th On Barking And Dagenham Refuse Drivers Pay And Safety Dispute

The next 8 days of strike are from 1st to 8th May and we will try again to resolve the dispute but there is no confidence in the Council's commitment to this says GMB.

GMB will be attending further talks ACAS on Thursday 30th April in an effort to resolve the dispute involving drivers in Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services over £1,000 pay cuts.

These further talks are on day before the next scheduled strike for further 8 days from 6am on Friday 1st to 10pm on Friday 8th May. The drivers have already taken seven days of strike action on18/19/20 March and on 7/8 and 23/ 24 April.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Officer for Public Services, who attended talks at ACAS yesterday 28th April has now reported to GMB members via a letter after the meeting.

Brian Strutton says in his letter “Last week GMB met the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to try to resolve the strike which our refuse, grounds and cleansing drivers are holding to defend themselves against £1,000 pay cuts. That turned out to be a waste of time because the Council were not prepared to enter negotiations. We had a further meeting on Tuesday 28th to try to move things forward and this is what happened.

Firstly, early yesterday morning (28th April) one of the Councillors Dominic Twomey, turned up unannounced at the depot and spoke to all the GMB members involved in this dispute and told them that the Council had done a deal with the other unions who are not on strike. This was not true and was obviously designed to try to scupper the ACAS talks today. GMB did not allow this to divert us and we continued with the ACAS talks.

In those talks the Council said this; they offered a £300 cash buyout for a £1000 a year pay cut. Seriously!

GMB does not believe there is any need for change but in the spirit of ACAS negotiations said for a £1000 pay cut and loss of pension we want £5000 compensation. I don't think that's unreasonable.

While this was going on, at lunchtime the same Councillor Twomey gave a statement to the press saying that other unions had put forward proposals for resolving the dispute, just as he had done earlier this morning. I can tell you as the GMB officer at the ACAS talks with the other unions they did not put any proposals forward. They said the Council's £300 cash buyout wasn't good enough but they did not put anything forward themselves. Again, Councillor Twomey, who was not involved in the ACAS talks, was clearly issuing false statements designed to undermine and malign GMB and the other unions. Again, acting as a spoiler to prevent progress.

And that's exactly what happened. Apart from the exchange of positions mentioned above, the Council said they could not negotiate today and would need to go away to consider and take advice. They asked to meet GMB again on Thursday 30th April. This is the day before our next scheduled strike for further 8 days from 6am on Friday 1st to 10pm on Friday 8th May.

So that is now two meetings held, under ACAS guidance, with the Council unable, or unwilling, to negotiate. This is not only totally disrespectful to us and our members but is letting down the residents of Barking and Dagenham who want our members treated fairly and this dispute to be over. That's what GMB wants too. So we will try again on Thursday but I have to say that I have no confidence in the Council's commitment to this. What I am confident about is the strength and resolve of our refuse, grounds and cleansing drivers who are being treated with disdain by their employer, the Council.”

Ends

Contact:  Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or Keith Williams, GMB Senior Organiser on 07710 631339 or GMB Press Office on 07974 251823 or 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Copies of previous GMB press releases:

GMB press release 22 April

STRIKE ON 23/24 APRIL BY BARKING AND DAGENHAM REFUSE DRIVERS IN PAY AND SAFETY DISPUTE AFTER NO TALKS AT ACAS ON 21ST APRIL TO AVERT 10 DAYS OF STRIKE

ACAS has convened further talks next week when GMB will be prepared to work for an outcome and we hope the council turn up this time with a fresh approach says GMB

Over 100 GMB members employed as bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services will take strike action from 6am on Thursday 23rd April until 10pm on Friday 24th April in a dispute over a £1,000 a year cut in contractual pay arising from the council cutting corners on the safety of refuse vehicles. Details of where the picket lines will be on both days are set out below.

This is after Barking and Dagenham managers refused to meet with GMB for talks at ACAS on Tuesday 21st April. The managers attended at ACAS but refused to sit in the same room as GMB and their own employees at ACAS.

The talks has been called to avert a further 10 days of strike action after GMB gave notice of two days strike from 6am on Thursday 23rd April until 10pm on Friday 24th April and a further 8 days from 6am on Friday 1st to 10pm on Friday 8th May. Members have already taken five days of strike action on 18/19/20 March and on 7/8 April in this dispute. See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases.

The details of where the picket line will be placed are as follows:

From 6am on 23 and 24 April 2015,

Outside Frizlands Lane Depot,

Rainham Road North,

Dagenham, RM10 7HX

There will be members with flags and union banners on picket duty there. GMB officers and members will also be available for interview there.

Paul Hayes, GMB Regional Secretary, said “Following a completely wasted day at ACAS Barking and Dagenham managers were not prepared to even meet with GMB or their own employees in the same room to solve the dispute.

This must be a massive disappointment to the residents of Barking and Dagenham that the council they elected does not seem interested in bringing this dispute to an end.

The workforce representatives attended ACAS today with the intention of trying to avert further industrial action. The residents of Barking and Dagenham will make their judgement when the opportunity arises.

ACAS has convened further talks next week. GMB will again be prepared to work for an outcome at ACAS. We just hope the council turn up this time with a fresh approach.”

GMB release 18th March 2015

GMB STRIKE IN BARKING AND DAGENHAM ON 18,19 & 20 MARCH WITH A FURTHER TWO DAYS ON 7TH & 8TH APRIL OVER £1,000 PAY CUT FOR REFUSE DRIVERS

An overwhelming 75% of the local community support the decision of members to take strike action to defend their wages says GMB

GMB members employed as bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services will take strike action on 18/19/20 March and on 7/8 April over a £1,000 a year pay cut. See notes to editors for previous GMB press release.

Keith Williams, GMB Senior Organiser said “Local residents were asked to respond to an independent online survey conducted by the Barking & Dagenham Post on Barking & Dagenham Council’s decision to cut pay of refuse/ cleansing drivers by £1,000 a year. An overwhelming 75% of the local community support the decision of GMB members to take strike action to defend their wages.

The residents have spoken and this shows the high esteem that they hold for the council employees who do such a valuable role in the community where they all live and serve.

The Council should now listen to the public and do the right thing and reverse their arbitrary decision to cut the wages of GMB members by £1,000.”

Ends

GMB press release dated 3rd March.

GMB Members To Strike Over £1,000 A Year Pay Cut When Council Pay Four New Employees Annual Six Figure Salaries Each

GMB is calling on London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Council to reconsider the need for the expensive, new posts and halt the attack on Council bin lorry drivers who deliver frontline services directly to residents

GMB members employed as bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services have voted to strike over a £1,000 a year pay cut. The ballot produced a 90% turnout.

Keith Williams, GMB Senior Organiser said, “There is clearly something wrong when Barking & Dagenham council is cutting the pay of front-line service workers and increasing the wage bill with the introduction of new high level posts, and at the same time compromising health & safety.

There is no doubt at all that residents need a well-functioning refuse/cleansing service but there is a question as to whether residents will benefit from any of these expensive new jobs.

The council is forcing the bin lorry drivers to defend their existing pay and working conditions against an unproven attack to the point when they have to consider strike action to keep what they already have.

GMB is calling on the council to reconsider the need for the expensive, invisible new posts and halt the attack on council employees who work on the roads delivering invaluable services to residents.”

Ends

 

 

 

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