Dundee housing workers to be balloted for industrial action

Union members in the housing department within Dundee City Council are to be balloted for industrial action after more than 500 hundred workers in construction and environmental services voted to strike.

Unite said the move is due to the imposition of a council policy on compulsory redundancies, limits on flexible retirement, and reductions in the pay protection for staff moved to lower grade posts without the agreed consultation taking place.

The union’s members in the council’s construction and environmental services departments were balloted earlier this month with 95% supporting industrial action on a 68% turnout.

Two weeks of strike action and an overtime ban will begin on July 1, with more strikes taking place every Monday and Tuesday afterwards until further notice, according to Unite.

Unite also confirmed that it will ballot hundreds more of its membership in the parks, leisure and culture, and housing departments of the council.

George Ramsay, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “This is an emphatic result for strike action from Unite members who are determined to oppose the imposition of changes to their contracts.

“Dundee City Council’s new policy not only shamefully opens the door for workers to be made redundant but potentially at a reduced cost to the council.

“This is the legal reality of the changes and no one should underestimate the impact that this may have on job security and the protections currently available to workers.

“The council has made a grave mistake in believing that they can behave like the worst of employers by failing to consult on these changes, and then they have the audacity to invite us back to ‘negotiate’ some concessions from them.”

A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “The council remains willing to meet the trade unions at any time and will bring a planned meeting forward if desired.

“We have continued to engage with trade unions over the last few months and hope that they are willing to come to an agreement on a pragmatic way forward.

“We have also responded to a request from trade unions to suspend the Managing Workforce Change policy in order for discussions to take place so that we can resolve any concerns.

“The suspension of the policy also followed dialogue with councillors from across the political spectrum.

“We have asked Unite to suspend any planned industrial action while we resolve our differences.”

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