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Kier agrees pay deal after strikes

Kier has agreed a pay deal with union members to end strike action from its recycling and food waste collection employees in Bath and North East Somerset.

Unite accepted a revised pay offer on 19 January after successful talks with the company through conciliatory service Acas the day before, Kier said.

This brings an end to strike and industrial action, including an overtime ban, which has been taking place intermittently since New Year’s Eve.

The dispute started when Unite said its staff members at the Keynsham depot were being paid below the living wage and up to 25% less than employees at the nearby Bristol site.

Talks broke down previously after the union rejected a 3% pay increase, backdated to July last year, a 4% increase in July 2016 and a 5% increase in July 2017, which represented a 12% increase during the next 18 months. The firm said the union refused to accept anything less than 20%.

Since then, workers have taken strike action on 14 and 15 January, with the council advertising for temporary staff to help clear the collections backlog.

Eight days of further industrial action had been planned but the new pay deal means this has been avoided.

Although little more money has been added to the overall package, Kier has now rearranged the offer to be more heavily front-loaded during the three-year period.

Managing director Julian Tranter said: “We appreciate how much disruption the strike, overtime refusal and work to rule has caused for residents, and understand their frustration that so little could be done to offset the impact when strike laws prevent the use of additional agency workers to cover those undertaking industrial action.

“With the council’s support on our approach, we have worked very hard through Acas to try to prevent any strike taking place, and during the strike to try to re-engineer an offer that could be used to encourage union members to re-enter talks.

“We are naturally very pleased that the union chose to re-enter talks, and equally that the revised more front-loaded offer was accepted by members.”

The company added that all collections will now be made as normal and it will continue to clear any backlog so that, as of next week, recycling and food waste collections will run as scheduled.

Unite has been contacted for further information.

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