EDF Energy smart meter installers across London and southern England are being balloted for strike action in a pay dispute, Unite said today (September 30).
Unite said that the impact of industrial action on EDF’s customers will be to slow down meter installation which allows for climate change reductions through reduced energy consumption.
The ballot of the 282 smart meter installers and those involved in debt collection in London, the south east and south west opens tomorrow (October 1) and closes on Friday, October 29.
Unite said the management’s pay offer of 1.5 per cent, due from April this year, was ‘totally inadequate’, given that the latest CPI rate of inflation has soared to 3.2 per cent.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said, “Our members at EDF are among those who continued working with the public during the pandemic. Now the company wants to reward those same workers with what is effectively a pay cut – the 1.5 per cent on the table is totally inadequate given the rapidly rising inflation rate.
“The CPI inflation rate is currently 3.2 per cent, but we believe that it is set to increase further by Christmas,” he added. “The employers really do need to be more imaginative – each year we get the same old tired routine, but just with different excuses as to why workers should not get a decent pay rise. The bosses always sing the same song, but just change the lyrics annually.
“The impact of strike action will be to slow down meter installation which will hinder the climate change agenda,” Kasab continued. “It will also hit EDF on the bottom line as monies owed by customers will not be collected as the debt collection teams will also be taking industrial action.
“Now is the time for the management of this highly profitable energy giant to enter into constructive talks before this dispute escalates into strike action.”
Other issues at the centre of the dispute include failure to reach an agreement in relation to restructures including work on installing power points for electric vehicles; failure to agree relocation compensation for staff in relation to the Bexleyheath site; unilateral changes to collective agreements; interference in the make-up of trade union bodies/positions.
By Shaun Noble