Unite has warned private housing building firm Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working that its “crazy” clamping threats have only strengthened the resolve of workers currently on their second day of strike action. (May 19).
“If management thought that their crazy car clamping threats would undermine our dispute they were entirely mistaken.’ commented Unite regional official Gary Fairclough before adding, “These threats have backfired and have reinforced our members’ determination”.
Workers are angry over recent attacks on terms and conditions, specifically Mears reneging on an agreement to remove pay differentials across and within trade groups.
The dispute between Mears and Unite members centers on the issue of workers being paid different rates for the same work.
Highly skilled workers are being paid significantly below the regional average – many employees earn just £22,000. Other workers on the same contract are receiving £25,500 for the same work.
The workers undertake crucial repair and maintenance work on social housing properties and public buildings across the city.
Resilient workers have vowed to continue a rolling programme of strike action. Through the course of this week and have vowed to continue until the dispute is concluded.
He commented, “This is a long running dispute which management have had years to resolve. Rather than tackle the problem of unfair and unjust pay differentials they instead buried their heads in the sand.”
Mears have threatened to clamp the private cars of workers if they are left on company property after the strike on May 23. Workers can usually park without sanctions.
A further demand for workers to leave their vehicles in the depot has caused disquiet.
Workers are concerned that the likelihood of injury will be increased when they are forced to carry their tools to work on public transport – which also shows a disregard for other members of the public.
“Rather than spending time dreaming up petty punishments, management should instead be working on new proposals to end the dispute and arranging fresh talks” Fairclough concluded.