Staff employed by public services organisation Serco Environmental Services, based at its Bridge Road depot in Haywards Heath, have voted to accept a new pay deal, mitigating strike action that was due to take place yesterday (Thursday 5 September 2019).
The deal, negotiated with trade union GMB and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), includes a one-off, non-consolidated £250 payment, an improved sickness policy, access to local collective bargaining from October 2019 and a pay award in conjunction with the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) rates.
In addition, Serco Environmental Services will also bring forward its pay review date, from August 2020 to April 2020.
GMB members employed at Serco Environmental Services conducted strike action on Thursday 29 August 2019 after their request for a 15% pay increase was declined by the organisation. A second day of industrial action was scheduled for Thursday 5 September 2019, but this was cancelled once the deal was agreed between all parties.
The dispute related to Serco Environmental Services tying its employees’ pay rises to the NJC pay awards; GMB members wished to retract from the NJC because of the government’s austerity policy, which includes pay freezes and lower-than-inflation pay reviews. GMB members were concerned this would greatly reduce their pay in real terms, according to the trade union.
GMB also stated that Serco Environmental Services did not provide financial information in line with The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations.
Serco Environmental Services took over the waste contract in mid Sussex in July 2007.
Declan Macintyre, regional organiser at GMB, said: “Members are pleased that they are able to accept the improved offer and bring this dispute to an end.
“The members are still saddened to be placed in to a situation of having to cause disruption to the residents of mid Sussex and are apologetic to all affected. Members are looking forward to working with improved pay and conditions as a result of their action.”
A spokesperson at Serco Environmental Services added: “We were pleased to reach an agreement with the GMB meaning that the planned industrial action on 5 September did not go ahead.
“We worked very hard to minimise the disruption of the previous day of strike action. Only two vehicles did not go out on their rounds and missed collections were completed with the next few days.”