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"Pig headed" bosses cause week-long energy strike

PUBLISHED: 12:17 05 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34 05 January 2016

EDF energy building in the Broadway Bexleyheath

EDF energy building in the Broadway Bexleyheath

Archant

Strikes will start next week

A week-long strike by EDG Energy workers will take place next week, as a union rep has branded bosses “pig headed”.

Plans for the strike from workers carrying out Smart meter installations had been suspended in November for talks with the management along with Acas, a service set up to improve working relations.

However as talks have broken down, about 70 staff, including some from EDF headquarters in Bexleyheath are due to strike from Monday January 11 to Friday January 15.

Regional officer at the worker’s union, Unite, Onay Kasab said: “Unite went into the Acas talks before Christmas in good faith, but they have been sabotaged by a pig headed management.

“The main sticking point is the requirement to work regular evenings and weekends as part of the installation of the Smart meter programme. We had an agreement that current staff would not have their working hours altered – the employer has now reneged on this.

“EDF has also added new items – most controversially ‘telematics’ which is a system for recording every movement of an employee’s working day. Our objection is that this will be used as a device for bullying.

“At the same time as this new performance policy, the employer has said that it expects the union to co-operate with getting rid of staff via this new system.

“This macho style of management and negotiation has led to next week’s strike.”

A spokesperson from EON said: “We believe our current proposals are fair, competitive and consistent with the commitment to our customers to ensure that our costs are better controlled and more affordable.

“Existing employees are not being asked to work hours outside of those stated in their contracts. We will also not be asking employees to work more hours per week than what is stated in their contracts.

“Due to changes in our working practices, such as no longer having night shift rotas, some financial allowances for our employees are no longer applicable.

“However, we have agreed to honour these allowances at their current level until December 2020, at which point they will be reviewed.

“We remain open, as always, to meeting employee representatives.”

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