PRESS RELEASE: Harlow trades council

Friday 2nd August 2013

Harlow picket

For immediate release.

This morning (02 August) members of Harlow Trades Council picketed the Mead Park depot of Kier Harlow to show solidarity with our UCATT comrades in their dispute with Kier Services over imposition of delays to salary payment.

Today marks the first day of the official industrial action ballot which ends on 19 August. We we were in attendance to support UCATT members and urge a YES vote in the ballot, which will give union negotiators a stronger position from which to seek a negotiated settlement.

The dispute has been triggered by Kier Services just as the school holiday period is under way, with parents amongst the workforce now facing the prospect of running out of money mid-month and then having to wait 2 more weeks for their pay.

Some workers pay their council rent and council tax through their salaries, so a two week delay in payment by Kier Services could increase the arrears faced by Harlow council, not to mention an increased load on enquiry staff at the Civic Centre.

Kier Harlow employs people with learning difficulties on the ETF team and the effect of changing their routine is far greater than the rest of the workforce. We wonder if Kier Services undertook an Equalities Impact Assessment?

We are already concerned that a Labour controlled council has a near 20% stake in a firm associated with the blacklisting scandal, but more so at the public silence of the Labour Group on this pay issue. However, UCATT has the firm support of Councillor Waida Forman, a Unison branch secretary, who is pictured on the picket line with a fellow Unison steward.

Harlow Trades Council urges Harlow Council to put pressure on Kier Services to negotiate with UCATT and other unions to resolve this unnecessary dispute.


David Forman
Harlow Trades Union Council

Harlow trades council defending workers terms and conditions

We reproduce below a letter to Harlow council Labour group leader Mark Wilkinson from the Harlow trades council, and the reply from the local Labour group leaders…

“Dear Mark,

From the link below you will see that Kier Services in Harlow intend to delay the pay for monthly paid workers by 2 weeks without agreement with the recognised union UCATT.

I recall that when Cllr Forman introduced her Kier blacklisting motion to the Labour Group earlier this year, much was made of the partnership deal with Kier Services where Harlow Council retained 10% of the shares.

So, naturally, I request that the Labour Group use it’s 10% stake to demand that Kier Services negotiate with UCATT on the pay issue to defend workers’ interests just as vigourously as it did to defend Kier’s over blacklisting.”

In response to the request on behalf of the interests and rights of workers, Mark Wilkinson responded,

” I am sure the labour group will do everything possible to support this issue.”

Red Youth supports wholeheartedly the actions of Harlow Trades Council in bringing this matter to the attention of local trade unionists. What is to be seen yet again is the willingness of the Labour party to serve big business interests rather than the working class! If all trades council’s were as quick to challenge such behaviour the movement would be in a much better place!

The comments of Mark Wilkinson are a clear indication of how little regard the Labour group leaders have towards workers’ interests. Red Youth rejects the words of ‘reassurance’, and suggests that any affiliation with Labour is one for the benefit of the capitalists rather than the workers.

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