Around 60 members of the GMB trade union who are employed by transport services organisation CT Plus, part of the HCT Group, in Wandsworth are conducting strike action today (Wednesday 17 July 2019) in a dispute over pay.
The dispute involves 70 school transport staff who transfer special educational needs students to and from school. The strike relates to employees on two different contracts: those who were transferred from Wandsworth Council to CT Plus via a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employement) (Tupe) agreement, and those on a direct CT Plus contract.
According to the trade union, employees on a CT Plus contract earn £8.60 an hour, approximately £2.50 less than colleagues who were Tupe’d across to the organisation. GMB added that its members at CT Plus have been due a pay increase since April 2019 and that members have rejected a pay offer of £9.02 an hour.
Employees who transferred from Wandsworth Council, meanwhile, are said to have experienced issues with the implementation of the National Joint Council (NJC) 2018/2019 pay deal. This group is also owed overdue back pay, according to GMB.
The strike action took place between 6.00am and 10.00am at Frogmore Depot in Wandsworth.
Andy Prendergast, senior organiser at GMB, said: “These members who support pupils with special educational needs to get to and from school do a very challenging job. Some of them drive the vehicles and others are personal assistants supporting pupils onto and off of the vehicles. They are a vital lifeline for some of these children who wouldn’t be able to access education without them.
“Our members take a huge amount of pride in the work they do, making sure that vulnerable children get taken to and from school safely every day and striking is the last thing they want to do.
“However, the fact is that they are getting vastly different wages and terms and conditions for performing exactly the same job. Those on CT Plus contracts are paid almost £2 per hour below the London living wage, a rate that is quite frankly an insult considering the work they do and the care they show the children.
“We had hoped that these issues could have been resolved peacefully, but we have been waiting in vain for a pay offer for over three months and our members have decided that enough is enough.”
CT Plus was unavailable for comment at time of publication.