Eleventh-hour deal halts Norwich strike action

Protesters out in support for the NCSL workers due to strike later this week

Protesters out in support for the NCSL workers due to strike later this week - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Eleventh-hour talks have ended strike action by Norwich city workers. 

Park staff, street cleaners and grave diggers were due to strike from Wednesday, in a call for better pay and conditions. 

The staff are part of the Norwich City Services Ltd (NCSL), an arms-length company formed by the Labour-led city council last month. 

Members of two unions – Unite and Unison – had voted overwhelmingly to strike between Wednesday, May 26 to Wednesday, June 2. 

Jonathan Dunning from Unison, one of the organisers of the protest

Jonathan Dunning from Unison, one of the organisers of the protest - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

After offering improved terms on Tuesday, the strike was suspended while members were consulted and a ballot on the new offer was held. 

The new terms were accepted on a majority of 76pc. 

Jonathan Dunning, Unison’s Norfolk branch secretary said: “It is a significant first step to what we want to achieve. 

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“Our long-term goal is to harmonise the NCSL terms so they are the same as city council workers. 

“We will be holding fresh talks with NCSL that will examine that. 

“The big issue for the trade unions is that we will be looking for revenue investment to ensure that these workers are treated the same way as every other city council worker. 

“There should be no second-class workers in the city council and we hope that is what the council and NCSL will work with us to achieve this.” 

Adam Oakes of Unite 

Adam Oakes of Unite - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Adam Oakes from Unite added: “We are pleased that the company and the council noticed that they need to improve their offer and that we will be able to avert industrial action. 

“It was something we never wanted to do unless we had to. 

“But we see that there is still some hard work to do to achieve [pay parity].” 

The NCSL offer a 3pc increase on basic pay, improved the annual leave offer from 21 days to 23 days for people with less than three years of service and 24 days for those over, as well as a better offer on sick pay. 

Hannah Leys, managing director of NCSL, said: “We are extremely pleased that we’ve reached an agreement with the unions and members on our improved pay offer for the newly transferred NCSL employees. 

“This means that industrial action has been avoided. 

“The company will now focus its efforts on continuing to deliver and develop the many services that NCSL provides to the city’s residents.”