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Gurkha Strike Over Zero Hours

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ex-Gurkha Regiment GMB Members Employed By Mod Contractor Serco Overwhelming Vote For Strike Action In Dispute Over Jobs And Cuts To Pay And Conditions 

GMB members will not agree to move 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

More than 100 GMB members, former members of the Gurkha Regiment, employed by MOD contractor Serco have voted in an official ballot to take strike action over cuts in jobs and pay and conditions. There was a 95% vote in favour of strike action.

GMB will now convey this vote to Serco and will ask the company to meet the union to consider the outcome of the ballot vote by their employees. If there is no progress in finding a resolution to 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.

See report at http://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/pictures-and-video-from-gurkha-demonstration-at-mod/

Ross Murdoch, GMB Organiser, said “I will convey this ballot result and the mandate it gives the union to Serco.

I will ask Serco to reconsider the proposal they have put to our members on working hours and on cuts to pay and conditions.

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 we will use that mandate. This massive 'yes' for strike action means the message is loud and clear that Serco need to reconsider their position very quickly. If they do not then dates for strikes will be set.”

Ends

Contact: Ross Murdoch, GMB Organiser on 07796 263626 or 01489 578665 or Charles Harrity 07977 518 042 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880

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