Wigan council fleet mechanics, who have reluctantly accepted rota changes to reduce overtime that will leave some up to £400 a month worse off, are being balloted for strike action after being told they will also be forced to work late on Fridays, Unite said today (December 2).
The mechanics, who repair and maintain nearly 300 Wigan council municipal vehicles, have agreed to change from a four day shift pattern to a five in order to comply with the council’s overtime cost saving measures.
Despite the ample compromises made by the mechanics, including a significant drop in take home pay for those who regularly work overtime, Wigan council is refusing to agree to the workers’ one request, which is to be able to leave at 4.30pm on a Friday rather than 5.30pm.
“Our members have bent over backwards to help the council save money. Some will lose up to £400 a month in overtime pay but still they have acknowledged that the council is struggling financially and accepted its proposals,” said Unite regional officer Tanya Sweeney.
“Instead of recognising the sacrifices our members have made, the council has decided to push things over the edge. Leaving one hour early on a Friday afternoon is not an unreasonable request considering the loss of earnings and schedule changes our members have agreed to,” she added.
“They have been asked to accept one compromise too many, which is why this ballot is going ahead. After all the goodwill shown by our membership and the disruptive consequences across the council that a stoppage to vehicle maintenance would bring, it has to be asked whether the council’s senseless intransigence on this matter is really worth it?”
The ballot for strike action will run from December 5 to December 17.