EDF Energy meter installers, fitters and repairers are to strike for a week in a dispute that could see them having to collect their Smart meters from supermarkets and petrol stations.
“Collecting meters from supermarkets and petrol stations is not a smart move,” said Onay Kasab, Unite regional officer.
The strike is limited to Bexleyheath, Kent and Canning Town in East London but the reasons for the dispute affects almost 500 staff across London, southern and western England.
“It will destroy the team working ethos where colleagues come into a depot to share problems and learn from each other. It will be the end of co-working,” added Onay.
About 70 staff are due to strike from 00.01 Monday (October 19) until 23.59 on Friday (October 23).
Meter readers and fixers, office staff and managers are all in a dispute over pay cuts, job losses and working extended hours to install the meters.
“There are a raft of other reasons for this dispute, including that if the proposals go ahead some staff could lose up to £6,000-a-year,” added Onay.
Despite being a highly profitable company EDF Energy also wants to close the Bangor Wharf depot in east London.
This is a preface to the firm closing all depots with the aim of meter staff allegedly collecting their equipment from special lockers at supermarkets and petrol stations.
“There has already been one day of strike action in August and further action was suspended for talks to take place with the management,” said Onay.
“These negotiations have proved fruitless and that’s why our members are staging targeted strike action next week,” he added.
Unite members have voted by a margin of 85 per cent for strike action and 92 per cent were in favour of industrial action short of a strike.
“The management has been intransigent and we urge them to get around the table under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas, otherwise more widespread industrial action will definitely be on the cards this autumn,” said Onay.
The dispute centres on a list of issues including extended working hours to install Smart meters, but withdrawing the London allowance which could mean a pay cut of up to £6,000.
No pay awards for staff on personal contracts, despite saying performance pay should be awarded if targets are met.
Job losses caused by managers having to apply for their own jobs and if rejected facing potential unemployment.