Industrial action in Sussex: maintenance workers at Crawley Borough Council set to strike over pay

Unite the Union has announced that Unite members who maintain and repair social housing for Crawley borough council are starting strike action this month.
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The union made the announcement on Thursday, December 7, saying that members are pushing for better pay and conditions.

A Unite spokesperson said: “Twenty plumbers, electricians, gas engineers, painters and other craftworkers who are employed by two subcontractors – Mears and Liberty Gas – are requesting a 10 per cent pay increase on their hourly rates to reflect the rate of inflation over the last year and the ongoing cost of living crisis. Instead Mears has merely offered a lump sum payment that equates to just a five per cent, one-off increase, which is even below the seven per cent National Joint Council (NJC) local council workers offer. Liberty Gas have made no pay offer at all. Liberty Gas also gives fewer holidays to its employees than the other contractors and Unite is calling for harmonisation for all contracted workers.

Unite the Union has announced that Unite members that maintain and repair social housing for Crawley borough council are set to start strike action this DecemberUnite the Union has announced that Unite members that maintain and repair social housing for Crawley borough council are set to start strike action this December
Unite the Union has announced that Unite members that maintain and repair social housing for Crawley borough council are set to start strike action this December
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“Given the reluctance of the contractors or Crawley Borough Council to improve the offer, workers will head to the picket line on Wednesday 11 December 2023 and 8 January 2024.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said wages for these contractors had ‘fallen massively behind’ those of local authority workers over the past decade.

Unite regional officer Malcolm Bonnett said: “(Mears and Liberty Gas) need to get their house in order and put a proper pay increase on the table or face further strike dates.”

He added that Unite members ultimately want the contract ‘taken back in-house’ under the local authority.