GMB confirms strike action ballot at Brighton’s housing repair team contractor Mears Group
The company’s refusal to negotiate a pay settlement leaves the GMB union and its members no choice other than seek members’ authority to take industrial action.
GMB Union members working on Brighton and Hove Councils Housing Repairs for private contractor The Mears Group team, are now balloting over potential strike action.
Members are voting after Mears failure to consult, and negotiate an agreed a pay award and to see harmonisation of holiday and sick pay across a number of staff working on their Brighton contract.
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) ballot which opened on Friday 7th Feb will close after 2 weeks on 21 February - meaning that should members support possible strike action, walk outs by different trades within the repair teams across various dates during March April and May will affect services and repairs across the city.
Mears who’s history on the 10 year Brighton contract hasn’t always been as they would like it with its connections to a huge overcharging scandal in 2018 will transfer staff back to BHCC when the Brighton contract comes to an end in April 2020 a move which will see GMB members and the repairs teams work back in house and directly under council management.
Mark Turner, GMB B50 Branch Secretary said: “The Mears Group leaving and the transfer of services and the staff and undertakings back to the council is going to be a real positive for Brighton and Hove. In taking the private sectors profit margins out of the costs and overheads in running housing repairs within the city and our members can enjoy the security of working back in the public sector and directly for the good of the city in which many of them live.
“But BHCC need to press Mears to settle this dispute now, otherwise they will find themselves having to deal with yet another Mears mess in reaching a pay settlement with GMB and its staff as they purposely filibuster with meaningful pay talks to allow them to pass on the problem in April.”
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: “GMB members should already have begun see strike action ballots sent by the ERS arrive at their home addresses from today if not already, and if members support taking industrial action.
“As a result of Mears refusal to come back to the table and commence discussions with the GMB then we could see staff walk outs and action taken from March onwards and throughout the TUPE process due to happen in April.
Contact: Mark Turner B50 Branch Secretary 07860 787 973 or Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser 07552 165 950