Anglian Water has sent a clear message to customers that there will be no disruption to services in the event of strike action by some of its waste water employees.
The company hit back today at union claims about the scale and scope of the action. It made clear that after 8 months of negotiation on the minor change to working times the door remains open for local union representatives to come forward with positive ideas for ending the dispute.
But following the ballot in which only 85 of the 235 staff entitled to vote called for strike action, the message was clear. There can be no return to working hours that are not in the best interests of customers.
In a further challenge to the union statement, the company made clear that strike action will not affect the clean water supply, and that there would be no disruption to services at all.
Further, the union has been repeatedly challenged to justify the claim that staff face losing up to £2,500 a year as a result of these new working arrangements, and they have failed to do so.
Peter Simpson, Chief Operating Officer at Anglian Water, said:
“The dispute is about a minor change to start times. We’re asking staff to start work at 10.00am, instead of 8.00am, to ensure we have most cover available when we are busiest. Many of our staff already work to these new arrangements.
“Since the new arrangements began on 1st April, we’ve improved service to customers and reduced the use of outside contractors by 40 per cent. This kind of efficiency improvement can only be good for our customers’ bills and the long-term job security of our employees.
“We remain absolutely committed to consulting our staff on changes which affect them, and we’re proud of our track record for constructive employee relations. The fact is we have negotiated on this change in good faith for more than 8 months, but sadly it was not possible to reach agreement.
“We urge union members to step back from strike action and to agree to the new working arrangements. Meanwhile we can reassure customers that we have contingency arrangements in place to ensure there will be no disruption to services.”