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Strike Ballot In North Norfolk

Thursday, October 8, 2015

GMB Consultative Ballot At Keir Kings Lynn And West Norfolk Over Unreasonable Demands On Refuse And Recycling Workers

Rather than make the job safer, by forcing members to wear goggles and caps in this circumstance, Kier are making it more dangerous says GMB.

GMB is organizing a consultative strike ballot of members employed by Kier Refuse Services in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk in a dispute over unreasonable and irrelevant demands on the workforce.

These members are employed by Kier on a contract providing waste and recycling services for Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.

The company have imposed the wearing bump caps - caps with reinforcement materials included - and goggles as part of their personal protection equipment on these contracts.

GMB is involved in a separate dispute with Kier Group across the UK over their failure to compensate the workers they blacklisted. GMB is now taking action in the High Court against Kier to secure compensation. On 7th October 2015 in the High Court Kier admitted liability to defaming workers on the blacklist.

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. 7 are from Norfolk. Documents in the High Court show that Keir Group provided information to the blacklisting body the Consulting Association on 229 workers.

Kier is one of eight construction firms including Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC that announced that after talks on a compensation scheme broke down with GMB that they are unilaterally going ahead with a grossly inadequate compensation offer.

Kier have to disclose information on its blacklisting activities to claimants by 30th October 2015 in good time for the full trial in 2016.

GMB held a protest demonstration at Kier offices in Sandy, Bedfordshire on 28th October 2014 to shame Paul McCreath, Human Resources Director and Kathy Almansoor, Group Employee Relations Manager for their part in blacklisting construction workers.

Glenn Holdom, GMB Regional Officer, said “There is mounting tension around the imposition of wearing bump caps and goggles as part of protective equipment on both these contracts.

Members are now being targeted for disciplinary action for not wearing the hats and goggles. This is despite a strongly worded letter to the company from GMB Health and Safety officer John McClean saying that this equipment  in not necessary and also in spite of a collective grievance being raised.

In the absence of any consultation or agreement with no consideration being given to the impracticalities of wearing this equipment the current position is causing more health and safety issues.

Rather than make the job safer, by forcing members to wear goggles and caps in this circumstance Kier are making it more dangerous. Instead of trying to address the symptoms of a flawed operation in this counterproductive and dangerous way, Kier should talk urgently with GMB about how to deal with the causes  which GMB have been trying to do for months.

Members have had enough and feel they are being treated with contempt. Many of the identified concerns have not been attended to in the last year and their patience has evaporated. A consultative ballot of members on both contracts is currently taking place.

This is on top of more blatant operational and vehicle issues that are not being attended too. There were also a number of aggravating issues on this contract such as round imbalances, increased working hours and level of agency staff being used since the TUPE transfer from Veolia in April 2013.”


Contact: Glenn Holdom 07974 251 723 or 01603 626492 or GMB press office 07974 251823 or 07921 289880






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