Fresh strikes by Serco civil enforcement officers in Ealing over union busting will cause a summer parking ‘free for all’ in the borough, Unite said today (June 22).
An initial 72-hour strike beginning tomorrow (June 23), followed by two weeks of continuous strike action at the end of the month, means there will be no parking enforcement in Ealing between June 23 and June 23 and June 30 and July 14.
Since May 5, more than 40 civil enforcement officers have taken intermittent strike action over Serco’s offer of severance to elected Unite representatives, activists, and lay members. The severance offers were made to undermine trade union organisation and collective consultation.
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 members employed by Serco on the back of house catering contract at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, are also taking strike action over the company’s ‘aggressive’ use of an absence policy.
Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said, “These strikes will result in a parking free for all across Ealing and are entirely Serco’s fault.
“Not only will the strikes impact Ealing, but they could also cause disruption in neighbouring Brent, as Serco’s base for both boroughs operates out of the same location,” she added.
“It is inevitable that Serco will try to lessen the impact of the strikes in Ealing with personnel from the Brent contract, which is already facing extra pressure due to the number of Euros games being held at Wembley,” Keogh went on to say.
“The last thing our members want to do is strike, but what choice do they have when Serco has treated them so badly and is refusing to act on their concerns?
“Talks with the conciliation service Acas are planned for 30 June, so there is still time for the bulk of the strike action to be avoided.
“Unite calls on Serco to address our members concerns seriously by arriving at the Acas talks with an acceptable solution prepared in advance.
“We also call on Ealing council’s new leader Peter Mason to keep the promise he made at the beginning of his tenure in May to intervene in this dispute,” she continued.
“Ealing council did the right thing by reversing its decision to ask Serco to remove a Unite rep from his job for supposedly bringing the council into ‘disrepute’ – an accusation that was proved to be completely baseless.
“Ealing council must now follow this up by insisting Serco take meaningful steps to end the hostilities and reset industrial relations.
“If Serco refuse to listen, then the council should bring the contract back in-house, as stipulated under Labour Party policy.”
By Ryan Fletcher