Highways maintenance staff working on behalf of Amey in area 8 could go on strike for a week if Britain’s biggest union, Unite, fails to reach an agreement with management over pay and contracts.
Unite members with Amey at four depots in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire yesterday (Monday 23 February 2015) staged their fourth planned 24-hour strike after talks brought insufficient movement on pay.
Unite is now urging Amey to return to the negotiating table. It has warned that a seven-day strike will take place from early next Monday (2 March).
The company, which manages 30,000 miles of highway across the UK – gritting roads and maintaining crash barriers – is under pressure to honour existing collective agreements and give workers a pay rise.
Employees rejected an offer short of the five per cent pay increase requested by Unite.
According to Unite, the company has also failed to address its attempts to dismantle long-established arrangements on collective bargaining which had been working well under Carillion before being Tupe transferred over to Amey in April 2014.
Unite regional officer Richard Gates said: “My door is always open for talks to resolve this dispute. However Amey needs to realise that workers have been hit hard in recent years over pay and are not prepared to accept a settlement that in effect means no real-terms increase.
“We also urge Amey to recognise that the future of the collective bargaining agreement is of fundamental importance. This dispute will not be resolved unless the company moves on this issue.
“The fight will continue, the feeling among our members is as strong as when we started, if not stronger. 74 per cent of our members backed this strike on the back of a 100 per cent turnout.
“In addition new members have been joining Unite since the dispute began, something which shows the strength of feeling among workers.”
The four depots involved are Breakspear at Hemel Hempstead, Whittlesford in Cambridgeshire, Sandy depot in Bedfordshire and Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire.
A spokesperson for Amey said: “Despite our significant efforts to resolve the current industrial dispute we are disappointed that strike action is planned. We have contingencies in place and do not anticipate any impact on our highways management and maintenance services. We will continue to work with Unite and our employees, and we are committed to reaching a fair and satisfactory outcome for all.”