Ealing parking chaos looms

Ealing civil enforcement officer strike ballot opens over union busting

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Ealing residents could face parking chaos if civil enforcement officers employed by Serco vote to strike over attempts at union busting by the company, Unite said today (March 8).

Nearly 40 civil enforcement officers, who have been designated as key workers and who have worked throughout successive lockdowns, are being balloted for strike action after the company offered severance to elected Unite representatives and activists in order to undermine trade union organisation.

The strike ballot will open on Friday, March 12 and close on Tuesday, April 6. If workers vote for industrial action then strikes could begin later next month.

The dispute is linked to a botched and unjustified restructuring and redundancy programme that Serco had tried to instigate in late 2019, with minimal consultation with Unite.

As well as targeting union reps and activists, Serco has offered severance to individual employees in order to undermine collective consultation over the restructuring after an agreement could not be reached last year.

Serco is also refusing to negotiate a new absence management policy for employees working on the Ealing contract. Unite believes the present policy is being used to unfairly dismiss employees and should be renegotiated.

Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said, “Our members voted by 100 per cent to strike last year and prevented unnecessary job losses by Serco.

“Now the company is attempting to sneak unreasonable changes in through the back door.

“Staff will not accept the targeting of reps, activists and others with severance offers in order to weaken trade union organisation and undermine negotiations,” she added.

“The strength of feeling amongst the membership is such that there was no other choice but to call a strike ballot.

“It is inevitable that any strike action will result in severe disruption on Ealing’s already over congested roads,” Keogh continued.

“Further escalation of this dispute can be avoided if Serco drops its attempts to split staff and returns to the negotiating table with a new set of plans that are acceptable to our members.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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