William Eichler 03 December 2019

Fleet mechanics threaten strike after being asked to ‘accept one compromise too many’

Council fleet mechanics in Wigan are being balloted for strike action after being told to work late on Fridays, according to Unite.

The mechanics, who maintain nearly 300 council municipal vehicles, have agreed to change from a four to a five day shift pattern in order to save the council on overtime costs.

However, the union argues that the council’s request that the mechanics work late on Fridays is ‘one compromise too many’.

‘Our members have bent over backwards to help the council save money,’ said Unite regional officer Tanya Sweeney.

‘Some will lose up to £400 a month in overtime pay but still they have acknowledged that the council is struggling financially and accepted its proposals.

‘Instead of recognising the sacrifices our members have made, the council has decided to push things over the edge.

‘Leaving one hour early on a Friday afternoon is not an unreasonable request considering the loss of earnings and schedule changes our members have agreed to.’

In response to the ballot, Paul Barton, director for environment at Wigan Council, said he believed the council had offered a ‘fair package’.

‘We have worked closely with our staff and union colleagues and have fully consulted with them on the proposed changes, most of which have been accepted,’ he said.

‘We have listened to the consultation feedback and have negotiated our proposals appropriately. We believe we have offered a very fair package which importantly meets the future operational needs of the service.

‘We are still hopeful we can reach an amicable conclusion, without the need for any industrial action.’

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