Croydon council grounds maintenance workers to strike

Croydon council grounds maintenance workers to down tools over ‘unacceptable’ 1.75 per cent pay offer

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Croydon council grounds maintenance workers will strike over an ‘unacceptable’ 1.75 per cent pay offer, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (April 11).

More than 20 staff responsible for maintaining parks and open spaces in the borough will strike between 25 and 27 April and 3 May and 5 May. The workers will strike at the same time as Hackney council staff take industrial action on the same issue.

While the rate of real inflation (the RPI) is running at 8.2 per cent and rising, the 1.75 per cent offer, rising to 2.75 per cent for those on the bottom pay point, has been set nationally by the Local Government Association (LGA) for 2021/22.

Unite is urging Croydon council to reject the LGA recommendation, table a proper pay rise and prevent the possibility of long-running strike action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Croydon council’s grounds maintenance workers have reached their limit. Their wages have been decimated after years of austerity and they will not put up with this unacceptable pay offer in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

“These members have Unite’s full support in rejecting the LGA’s insulting proposal and in striking for fair pay,” she added. “Croydon council must think again and come back with a better deal.”

Unite says that the 1.75 per cent offer is a cut and comes after 11 years of pay freezes that have seen wages for council workers plunge by 22 per cent in real terms.

Exacerbating the dispute is the fact that the workers’ terms and conditions have not been brought into line with council standards, despite their department being insourced three years ago.

The workers have also not received a pay rise since then and want any rise to be backdated by three years.

Unite regional officer Clare Keogh added, “While it was commendable that Croydon council insourced the grounds maintenance department, our members have since been completely abandoned by the council.

“They are determined to strike until Croydon council offers them a pay rise that reflects rising living costs, harmonises their terms with the rest of the council’s employees and provides backpay for the three years they have gone without a rise.”

By Barckley Sumner

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