Doncaster Grave diggers and road workers ballot for strikes

Doncaster Civic Offices. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 02-01-15 Civic Offices MC 2
Doncaster Civic Offices. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 02-01-15 Civic Offices MC 2

Some 200 Doncaster Council workers are balloting for strike action over the threat of changes to shift patterns and employment terms and conditions.

Unions Doncaster Unison, Unite and GMB have issued formal notice of their intention to carry out a ballot for industrial action involving 200 mostly manual work staff.

If workers vote yes, it could mean strikes across areas including highways, grounds maintenance and street scene – affecting services such as grass-cutting, road maintenance, grave diggers and litter collection across the area.

Jim Board, branch secretary of Doncaster Unison, said: “All three unions have welcomed the opportunity to discuss the modernisation of these services but have been clear from the start that our members do not want shift changes, which include compulsory weekends and longer working days.

“This would impact on weekends with families and children and would mean the removal of paid overtime for those workers who choose to and can work weekends.

“It is clear that Doncaster Council has not listened and has not heard the response from our members across all three unions. We are inviting them to rethink their plans.”

The trade unions are legally required to give seven days’ notice of the start of a ballot. This means that voting will begin next week and will run for three weeks. Once the result is known, notice of industrial action will follow.

This means that any action would be likely to commence during the weeks leading up to Doncaster’s popular St Leger Festival.

The unions said staff are also concerned that the changes may ‘be both unworkable and unsafe’. A spokesman added: “The longer working days for some staff have given rise to worries about the impact this will have on their health and also wider concerns about the safety of using heavy equipment and machinery in such circumstances.”

Jim Board added: “These men and women are visible in our communities every day and have a positive impact on all of our lives and on all of our environments. They work in tough jobs, in all weathers, and they do so in the knowledge that they get adequate rest and time with their families and loved ones. This dispute is not about more money, it’s about time.”