Last Ditch Talks Today At Folkestone With Mod Contractor Serco To Avert Strike Action By Ex-Gurkhas In Dispute Over Zero Hours
The MOD should step in to insist that Serco offers proper employment contracts to the workers who are responsible for training the next generation of our army says GMB
Last ditch talks will take place today (19 August) at 2pm at Risborough Barracks in Folkestone, Kent between GMB and Serco to avert strike action by former members of the Gurkha Regiment in a dispute over the introduction of zero hours contracts.
Last week more than 100 GMB members, employed by MOD contractor Serco voted in an official ballot to take strike action over cuts in jobs and pay and conditions from 6th September 2013. There was a 95% vote in favour of strike action.
If there is no progress in the talks today to resolve the dispute GMB officials will meet to determine dates for strike action.
In January 2012 Serco won a contract, worth approximately £55m, with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to deliver the Contemporary Operating Environment Force (COEFOR) training and support. Serco started work on this MOD contract in April 2012 and the contact is expected to run to 2014 and beyond.
These GMB members are employed as part of that contract to pass on their soldiering skills to new recruits These members work at various Army Camps mainly in the UK, occasionally overseas in Germany, Cyprus and other locations and do not have a fixed workplace location.
Serco is proposing to cut up to 100 jobs from 6th September 2013 and for the work to be done with zero hours contracts. This is in breach of a guarantee in relation to jobs and hours of work secured by GMB in December 2012 as part of the resolution to a previous dispute. Then the company proposed job losses and changing from guaranteed hours to zero hours contracts. Serco in effect is proposing to go back to the zero hours contract that was rejected in December 2012.
On 7th August these GMB members presented a petition to the Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond calling for an end to casualization of this important defence work.
Ross Murdoch, GMB Organiser, said “GMB see this as a last opportunity to reach an agreement to avert a stoppage by these members.
The MOD should step in to insist that Serco offers proper employment contracts to the workers who are responsible for training the next generation of our army.
The MOD and Serco need to be clear that these GMB members will not agree to move from regular employment to zero hours contracts where the company and MOD can turn off and turn on the hours of work and pay of these loyal workers.
If Serco is not prepared to move then dates for strikes will be set.
GMB will also ask MPs and MEPs to launch an investigation into the employment practices of Serco when working of public sector contracts so as to arrive at minimum labour standards on all these contracts.”
Contact: Ross Murdoch, GMB Organiser on 07796 263626 or 01489 578665 or Charles Harrity 07977 518 042 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880