Serco civil enforcement officers in Ealing have voted to strike over the targeting of union activists in the latest in a series of industrial disputes to hit the outsourcer, Unite said yesterday (Thursday April 15).
After a near unanimous vote, more than 40 civil enforcement officers will strike over Serco’s offer of severance to elected Unite representatives and activists in order to undermine trade union organisation. The dates for the strikes have yet to be announced.
As well as targeting union reps and activists, Serco offered severance to individual employees in order to undermine 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.
This dispute follows a botched and unjustified restructuring and redundancy programme that Serco tried to instigate in late 2019, with minimal consultation with Unite.
Meanwhile, Serco catering workers at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel are being balloted for strike action in a dispute over bullying and the imposition of new rotas.
About 40 tractor tug crew members employed by Serco Marine at the Devonport naval base in Plymouth are also in dispute with the company.
The tug workers have already taken two days of strike action this month over the imposition of a new three weeks ‘on’ and three weeks ‘off’ roster, which Unite says poses serious health and safety risks.
Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said, “Last year our members defeated Serco’s attempts to carry out unnecessary job losses among Ealing’s civil enforcement officers.
“The company’s severance offers to union reps, activists and others are a blatant attempt to weaken trade union organisation and force through more unacceptable plans.
“The workforce will not stand for such behaviour and there will be parking chaos on Ealing’s already over congested roads unless Serco tables plans our members can accept.
“It is no surprise that Serco’s race to the bottom tactics of targeting staff and degrading services is the cause of three disputes with Unite members across three different sectors.
“Leeching the public purse for profit is the raison d’etre for outsourcers like Serco, which is why Unite believes that services paid for by the taxpayer should be brought back in house wherever they can.”
By Ryan Fletcher