Mark Whitehead 09 May 2018

Outsourced council staff strike over sick pay

Workers employed under an outsourced council contract to sort out waste for recycling have entered the second week of a strike over sick pay.

A dozen employees working for UK-based multinational FCC Environment say they are being denied access to the scheme enjoyed by other staff and managers working for the company at councils nationwide.

It provides full pay for six months and half pay for the same period in cases of long-term sickness.

The workers who belong to local government union Unison claim they have wide support for the action and council refuse vehicles have not crossed their picket lines, though the councils say refuse collection has not been affected.

FCC Environment will not discuss the dispute with the media but says the benefits it offers staff are good and it wants to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.

It says the facts surrounding one of the strikers who had treatment for cancer have been incorrect and the dispute has become 'emotional'.

A letter from the company to the striking employees seen by LocalGov acknowledges its sick pay scheme for the staff concerned is in line with statutory entitlements but says it will 'continue to look at individuals on a case by case basis, and make adjustments over and above contractual sick pay, where appropriate.'

The letter outlines a range of benefits available to staff including life insurance cover, a health surveillance service and access to a specialist medical advice consultancy.

It says: 'We feel that the benefits and services offered by FCC are good and that this is supported by the high level of staff retention across FCC as a whole, but in particular across the H&ER (environmental services) contract.'

A spokesperson for FCC told LocalGov: 'We have made what we believe is a fair offer and we are open to further discussions with the union to resolve the dispute, but we don't want to do this through the media.'

Tony Smith, a spokesman for the strikers, said: 'We think it's unfair that people can get the sick pay and others can't.

'It would not be a big cost to the company. We are determined to stick together and win this fight.'

Hull City Council said it was not directly involved in the dispute but was 'asking both sides to seek a resolution.'

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