Serco employees planning two 72 hour strikes in June
Serco employees protesting outside Ealing Town Hall last year. Picture: Helen Pattison
Further planned industrial action by civil enforcement officers employed by Serco on behalf of Ealing Council is planned next week.
Unite the union said it hopes a solution can be found before the two 72-hour strikes, beginning on 1 June and 9 June, go ahead.
The dispute escalated following claims by the union that Ealing Council had helped ‘hound’ a trade union representative out of his job after a council officer complained about posts made on social media.
The union says that the Unite rep, who has worked for Serco for over 20 years, had not brought the council into disrepute as the officer claimed but had merely made a purely factual observation that the strike would cost Ealing Council revenue from parking. Unite dismissed the claim that the post ‘conveys the council as a purely revenue generating authority’.
The same union rep, along with a number of his colleagues, was previously offered severance by Serco. The union claims this was part of a strategy to undermine trade union organisation, which resulted in the ongoing strike action.
New council leader has pledged to Peter Mason to intervene in the dispute,
Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: “Serco has targeted union reps, activists and others with severance offers in order to weaken trade union organisation and undermine negotiations. The company is also using its absence policy to unfairly dismiss employees.
“Our members will not stand for it and have been left with no other choice but to take strike action. The decision by Ealing Council to demand Serco remove our rep, who has spent 20 years working on behalf of the council, from his duties on spurious charges has compounded the situation.
“We welcome Peter Mason’s promise to intervene in this dispute. No Labour council should be using the insecurity created by outsourcing to unjustly cast someone from a job they have spent two decades in and the decision needs to be reversed immediately.
“Unite believes the civil enforcement contract should be brought under the control of Ealing council, as per Labour policy. The union is more than happy to work with Ealing council and Serco to avoid the strikes and parking disruption, as long as binding steps are taken to prevent any further targeting and victimisation of our members.”
Serco have denied that its intention is to target union activists and says that full consultation has been held on all redundancies.
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May 27, 2021