Hackney bus drivers announce five new strike dates

Bus drivers and passenger escorts in Hackney have announced five strike dates after council bosses broke an agreement.

Unite has called on Hackney councillors to intervene ‘to bang heads together’ in the authority’s management team after bosses reneged on an agreement for its 38 members, prompting strike action from midnight on November 25 to midnight on November 29.

The workers originally called off their strike in the long-running dispute over payments for working split shifts on 9 October, but the council is now insisting that the staff use contractual leave days for the training days agreed as part of the settlement.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Hackney council bosses have not just negotiated in bad faith – they have attempted to cheat low paid workers out of a negotiated agreement.

“The behaviour is so appalling that councillors now need to urgently intervene and bang heads together in the management team, if further strike action is to be avoided.

“We are only too aware that industrial action causes disruption – but it is the employer who will be responsible. Our members are absolutely outraged and feel betrayed.

“We reached a settlement that agreed the training and development sessions would take place during paid work time. This was a vital component that paved the way for our members to call off their strike in early October.

“When we met council officers to discuss implementation of the agreement, we were told that staff would need to use their inset days for training as part of the arrangements. The inset days for these staff are not used for training – they are paid leave days.

“Unite’s door is always open for constructive negotiations – but our bottom line is that we won’t tolerate this dedicated group of workers being treated in a cavalier and contemptuous fashion.”

The original dispute centred on a claim for compensation for the split shifts, backdated to July last year when the issue was first raised. Unite said this claim is based on the next grade in the Green Book national agreement which the union believed was the correct one for this group of workers. There were six 24-hour strikes over the summer on this issue.

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