Strike threat made by Redbridge housing workers

Workers maintaining the borough’s council homes have threatened to strike over a change in pay and conditions.

Fifty members of the GMB union who work for contractors Morrison voted to apply for a ballot on a walkout against plans to move away from bonuses and towards higher staff salaries.

Morisson, which carries out maintenance on council homes in the borough, says it is being forced to make changes to staff’s pay and conditions due to “unprecedented budget challenges” from the government.

A spokesman said: “Morrison has consulted with its staff throughout regarding these proposed amendments to terms and conditions and following further discussions which took place yesterday on Monday, we can now confirm that significant progress has been made towards achieving a mutually satisfactory outcome for all.

“We hope to finalise these discussions with our staff and the trade unions over the coming days, which will enable us to continue working together to deliver a high standard of service to the residents of Redbridge and our client Redbridge Homes.”

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The Morrisson workers had previously been employed by the housing department of Redbridge Council, until the contract was transferred to the private company in April 2006.

GMB regional organiser Sandra Vincent said last week that Morrison was now using “bullying tactics” against its staff.

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She said: “Morrison are using the economic downturn to try to eradicate terms and conditions that have been built up over the years. This is just adding insult to injury in view of the profits and will be resisted by GMB members.

“GMB union members have pledged to protect the most vulnerable in the community during official stoppages of work if management refuse to withdraw these cuts.”

The union argues the changes will see workers’ wages cut by 10 per cent, something Morrison has “categorically” denied.

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