Eastbourne refuse collectors reaffirm potential strike action

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Management at Kier must begin to look out for what’s best for their staff, rather than simply trying to limit their own damages or losses, say union officials.

GMB, the union for staff at Kier waste depot in Eastbourne, has threatened a consultative ballot after reductions to both staff and vehicles has led to what employees say are “falling standards and a backlog of collections to be made”.

Kier, which joined with East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership in 2013 to collect more than 200,000 homes in Eastbourne, Hastings, Rother and Wealden, has also been accused of failing to listen to grievances made over the suspending of staff and the failure to deliver on promises of a 3 per cent pay rise made two years ago.

GMB and its members are threatening to hold a consultative ballot on whether to take industrial action, if these grievances continue to go unheard by management.

The 10-year contract signed by Kier and the partnership in 2013 is due to be cut short as early as 2019, due to the company’s claim that it is not recovering costs on this contract which it signed to run the service.

Declan MacIntyre, GMB regional organiser, said, “Management at Kier must begin to look out for what’s best for the staff, rather than simply trying to limit its own damages or losses, before it pulls out of the contract with the East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership next year.

“A week and a half ago I met with staff for pay talks, however it soon became a forum for listing their many grievances that had gone unheard by management. These included aggressive behaviour from senior management, and their continued wait for a three per cent pay rise they were promised two years ago.

“Staff at Kier were also unhappy at the treatment of one manager who was suspended for divulging information of potential redundancies and relocations, despite this appearing to be exactly what is happening.

“If the senior management are not willing to do something about their own behaviour and begin to fulfil their promises of a pay rise given 2 years ago, then GMB will be forced to hold a consultative ballot with members, to see whether industrial action is required.”