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Kier collection crews plan more strikes

Negotiations to end industrial action in Bath and North East Somerset have broken down after the union rejected a new pay offer from Kier.

Unite members started a 24-hour strike on Friday after a period of wider industrial action, including an overtime ban since 30 December.

Negotiations through conciliation service Acas ended on 8 January, with the union threatening five further 48-hour strikes.

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

Unite said 86% of its members operating out of Keynsham depot voted in favour of strike action, with 100% backing other industrial action at the end of December 2015.

It said their staff members are being paid below the living wage and up to 25% less than employees at the nearby Bristol site.

Regional officer Jerry Pickford said: “The company’s continued refusal, despite repeated attempts, to take the concerns of its hardworking workforce seriously is the last straw.

“The people of Bath and North East Somerset need to know that Kier has been dragging its feet over this dispute for months now with no serious commitment to reaching an agreement. It is simply not acceptable that such a huge variation in pay is allowed to persist.”

A statement from the company said: “We are very disappointed that Unite has taken this view, despite previous pay deals since 2013 awarding an overall average 6%. Our most recent offer would actually provide a total 24% to recycling operatives’ pay [since 2013].

“So we now face, under strike laws, the restriction that we have to operate the service on the remaining crews. We are not allowed to implement any additional resource during the strike or to cover overtime.”

Further strike action has now been planned for:

  • 14-15 January
  • 21-22 January
  • 28-29 January
  • 4-5 February
  • 11-12 February

Kier’s full statement can be read on a website it has set up to confirm service updates.

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