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."
Contact: Gary Cook, GMB Organiser on 07712 677594 or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977 518042 or 01273 570126 GMB press office: 07974 251823.
Notes to editors
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.”