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East Anglia Future 50

Kier Environmental Services refuse and recycling workers to ballot for strike over claims of management bullying and intimidation

PUBLISHED: 12:22 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 06 July 2018

Construction, property and environmental services group Kier has reported a rise in revenues. Picture: Chris Biele

Construction, property and environmental services group Kier has reported a rise in revenues. Picture: Chris Biele

©2016 Chris Biele

Staff at Aylsham-based Kier Environmental Services have threatened to go on strike after allegations of being "disciplined, bullied and intimidated by the managers and supervisors" for years.

Employees who are members of the union GMB are balloting for strike action at the firm, which provides refuse and recycling collection services to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

Ivan Mercer, GMB regional organiser said the ballot also followed a lack of an acceptable pay rise.

Mr Mercer said: “Members have endured years of putting up with being disciplined, bullied and intimidated by the managers and supervisors at the Aylsham depot.

“They are being held to a higher moral and behavioural standard than the management team there and have had enough of it.

“They are also striking over the company failure to offer an acceptable pay rise.

“It was only in 2016 that industrial action was averted at the eleventh hour over the same kind of issues and relationships between our members and management have not improved since.

“Members are obviously concerned about the impact that this action will have on residents in North Norfolk and have done everything in their power to avoid taking it.

“It is likely that all out strike action will take place in August unless Kier permanently and effectively address these issues.”

An NNDC spokesman said: “This is a private dispute between employees and management of a contractor.

“Our job is to ensure the service provided to our communities remains as unaffected as possible.

“If a strike were to be called we will plan accordingly and inform our residents of any impacts.”

Kier’s response

A Kier spokesperson said: “We are disappointed to hear that the GMB is threatening to hold a consultative ballot with members of our Aylsham depot. We’ve held active discussions with local GMB representatives and in a meeting only last month members were asked to raise any concerns, but none were brought to our attention.

“As a business, we take any accusation of bullying extremely seriously and we adopt a zero tolerance approach to it in the workplace. We have a number of robust procedures in place , including a whistleblowing hotline for employees.

“We have started conversations with the GMB regarding pay and we remain fully committed to ongoing discussions with the GMB. Our next meeting is scheduled for mid-July and we hope the GMB will reconsider its position and we can have a productive meeting.”

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