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Bexleyheath energy staff in week-long strike

PUBLISHED: 13:58 13 October 2015 | UPDATED: 13:58 13 October 2015

Protesting

Protesting

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About 70 union members are due to strike from 00.01 Monday October 19 until 23.59 on Friday October 23

EDF Energy Workers carrying out Smart meter installations in Bexleyheath are set to strike for a week in a dispute that could see them collecting their smart meters from supermarkets and petrol stations.

About 70 members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are due to strike from 00.01 Monday October 19 until 23.59 on Friday October 23.

While the strike of the meter installers, fitters and repairers will hit the EDF headquarters at Bexleyhealth and Canning Town, east London, the reasons for the dispute affects nearly 500 staff across London and southern and western England.

Meter readers and fixers, office staff and managers are all in a dispute over pay cuts, job losses and working extended hours to install the meters.

If the proposals were allowed to go through some staff would lose up to £6,000-a-year in income.

EDF Energy also wants to close the Bangor Wharf depot in east London, as a prelude to closing all depots with the aim, says the union, of meter staff collecting their equipment from special lockers at supermarkets and petrol stations.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Collecting meters from supermarkets and petrol stations is not a smart move. It will destroy the team working ethos where colleagues come into a depot to share problems and learn from each other. It will be the end of co-working.

“There are a raft of other reasons for this dispute, including that if the proposals go-ahead some staff could lose up to £6,000-a-year.

“There has already been one day of strike action in August and further action was suspended for talks to take place with the management – these negotiations have proved fruitless and that’s why our members are staging targeted strike action next week.

“The management has been intransigent and we urge them to get around the table under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas, otherwise more widespread industrial action will definitely be on the cards this autumn which will hit customer service and delivery very badly.”

Unite members had voted by a margin of 85 per cent for strike action and 92 per cent were in favour of industrial action short of a strike.


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