Southern Region

GMB demonstration at Medway Council on 12th OctoberShare on Twitter Share on Facebook

Posted: 03 Oct 2017

GMB will be holding a demonstration on Thursday 12th October to lobby for extra funding for a pay increase for Medway Norse employees, the facilities management company owned by Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council blame the introduction of the National Living Wage and the lack of funding from Medway Council to cover this for the failure to increase pay. (see notes to editors for more information on Medway Norse).

GMB has written to Councillor Andrew Jarrett, the leader of Medway Council, calling on him to end the pay freeze at its partner Medway Norse for the staff previously employed by Medway Council. 

In September 2017 GMB was informed that its members on wages of over £7.50 an hour would not receive a pay increase for the third year running due to the cost of implementing the National Living Wage. Medway Norse have told GMB that the Council had not provided any additional funding to pay any extra wages for the ex-Medway Council staff over the last three years.  However during this same three year period Medway Council had passed on pay increases to its own employees each and every year.

In addition all staff employed since the joint venture was established are only entitled to statutory sickness entitlement and statutory holiday entitlements, whereas Medway Council employees build up entitlement to 6 months full pay and have significantly more annual leave.   GMB are also aware that the vast majority of Medway Norse employees only receive the National Living Wage. 

GMB is therefore calling for the following

A cost of living pay increase for staff who were former Medway Council employees

A significant improvement to the sickness scheme and holiday entitlement for staff employed since Medway Norse was established

GMB will hold a demonstration ahead of the Full Council Meeting at 6pm on Thursday 12th October at the following address:

Outside St Georges Centre
Pembroke Road
Chatham Maritime
Chatham
ME4 4UH

Nick Day, GMB Membership Development Officer, said “It is an absolute scandal that Medway Norse employees are treated so differently to those employed by Medway Council. Both sets of workers carry out vital services for the residents of Medway. So why is the Conservative Council not funding wage increases for both groups of staff and penalising low paid workers who should be receiving enough to keep up with the cost of living?

“Either way Medway Norse or the Council need to improve pay rates for Medway Norse’s workers. Therefore GMB will be writing to the Council today to demand that Medway Norse gets an increase to its funding to cover this. 

“GMB are also calling for the Council to make sure that Medway Norse staff receive the same sickness entitlement and holidays as their counterparts at the Council.  It’s about time the Council starts valuing all staff who carry out work for it and not just some.”

Contact: Nick Day on 07717 510047, Charles Harritty 07977 518042

1 Link to the Agenda for the Full Council Meeting on 12 October 2017 where GMB will ask a public question about funding for Medway Norse and employees wages will appear here:

https://democracy.medway.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=3772&Ver=4

2 Information on contractor Medway Norse

For the year ending 1 February 2016, Medway Norse has a turnover of £13.06m, up from £4.9m in 2014 (2014 figures for 13 months) and 436 employees (up 102 on previous year)

The parent company, Norse Group has a turnover of £321.9m, growth of £140m since 2011. The ultimate holding company is Norfolk County Council

The Norse Group has at least 23 joint ventures with authorities in Facilities Management, Cleaning, Catering, Environmental Services, Waste Management, Transport, Building Maintenance, Care equipment, Engineering, Printing, Grounds Maintenance and Security.

The Group has joint ventures with Barnsley, Devon, Enfield, Great Yarmouth, Newport, Norwich, Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney and Wellingborough.

Average number of employees in 2016 was 10,821.