Newham highway operatives to be balloted in grading dispute

Newham council, which has been dogged by industrial disputes recently, faces another one – this time over the failure to pay highway maintenance staff the rate for the job.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that its highway members at Newham council would be balloted for strike action from Friday (20 March). The ballot closes on 3 April.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The issue is that members have not been properly graded and, as a result, have not been properly paid. We estimate individuals have lost £8,000-a-year over a period of time.

“Negotiations with management have dragged on for months and now our members have lost patience with this foot-dragging local authority.”

The council has a record of industrial disputes – it is currently in dispute with educational staff over contracts and recently settled with council tax benefit staff over grading issues.

Onay Kasab added: “Newham has not got a good record recently when it comes to employment relations – the maintenance staff dispute being the latest in a long line.

“It is time that the council puts its house in order in this respect as the prospect of a strike by our highway members will mean potholes not being filled in and the roads not being maintained to high standards.”

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