Wednesday, October 1, 2014

News: Ballot for industrial action in Rotherham

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Staff working on a council housing repair and maintenance contract in Rotherham are being balloted over possible industrial action.

Construction union UCATT, alongside other local government unions Unite, GMB and UNISON are involved in a dispute with Morrison Facilities Services Ltd.

Morrison began a £60.5m contract to maintain council properties in 2010. The five and a half year deal, with four possible one-year extensions, is to repair and maintain 13,000 properties in Rotherham North, Rotherham South and Wentworth North. The firm was acquired by Mears in a £24m deal in 2012.

UCATT said in a statement that the dispute is over a large number of industrial relations issues including: the re-instatement of dismissed operatives; company policies and how they are implemented; how human resources handle disciplinary issues; vehicle checks not being made in work time; the storage of work tools on a workers' own premises and; threat to de-recognise unions and unacceptable behaviour towards shop stewards.

Rob Morris, regional secretary for UCATT, said: "UCATT has done everything possible to try to resolve these issues without resorting to industrial action. However management have refused to recognise our concerns so we have had no option but to seek a mandate for strike action from our members."

As part of the Rotherham contract, Morrison opened its Yorkshire Training Academy on Thames Street that provides training for all of the company's apprentices in Yorkshire, currently around 40 students, as well as training initiatives for the local community.

Earlier this year the care sector part of the Mears Group was awarded new contracts by the NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver continuing healthcare.

Mears website

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