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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2016
Victory for striking EDF energy workers
A Unite member
Unite members at EDF Energy working in metering services have won major concessions in a long running dispute over pay and conditions.
The priority for staff covered by long standing agreements is the issue of increased evening and weekend working. The employers have now agreed that this will apply to volunteers only and those not covered by the agreements.
In addition, the employer has dropped proposals to fit tracker devices in vehicles and to introduce random drug and alcohol testing.
This shift by the employers followed five days of strike action, with solid pickets as well as protest action which effectively blocked the entrance to the main HQ building at Bexleyheath, Kent, as reported in issue 884 of the Socialist.
The big lesson is that well planned, strategic strike action works. The union pulled out workers whose role is to fit 'smart meters' - something that the company is under pressure to complete or face fines.
Workers turned out in large numbers to picket and demonstrate on every day of the strike. In a sign of things to come, the company called out the police when the campaign blocked the entrance to the building and caused traffic congestion. On the first day, the police simply asked that the protest stop, which it did.
On the second day, the police turned up and threatened mass arrests. On the third day, they turned up with several vehicles looking to make arrests - no protests had been planned for the third day!
Unite is now preparing for battles on a number of fronts with EDF. The company is proposing to reduce revenue protection staff by 50% - while millions of pounds in stolen electricity is not recovered from landlords or business.
This policy decision means that even when theft is discovered EDF writes off the stolen electricity. Meanwhile, there are over 49,000 avoidable deaths each year from fuel poverty and bills continue to be far too high.
The union is also preparing its pay claim for 2016. The victory by metering staff has set an example and shows how these campaigns can also be fought and won.
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In The Socialist 24 February 2016:
What we think
EU referendum: Vote OUT the Tories
Socialist Party news and analysis
Junior doctors: back new strikes
Trident: thousands to march - scrap all nukes!
Butterfields tenants demand action against evictions at Labour estate agent awards
Children take over County Hall in protest at cuts
'Benefit tourism' twaddle
Cameron, Cameron, meal snatcher
Them & Us
Tower Hamlets to take anti-cuts fight into the council chamber
Leeds sets up people's budget campaign
Leeds Labour 'anti-austerity' meeting: jam tomorrow
Socialist Party feature
Unison at a crossroads
International socialist news and analysis
Hong Kong: new year riot
International news in brief
Workplace news and analysis
Victory for striking EDF energy workers
Pensions strike by water workers in Warrington
Fresh round of strikes against fresh round of cuts
Stress, abuse and long hours for London bus drivers
Workers unite to fight pay attack in Leicester
Workplace news in brief
Khrushchev: the Stalinist who denounced Stalin
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
One-woman tragedy's fiery call for revolution
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Huddersfield: save our A&E!
Momentum must "take the fight to the right"!
Gateshead: reprieve for respite centre
Save Derbyshire children's centres
Wakefield: no fracking, no cuts
Cumbria cuts - the grim reaper
Campaign to save Pent Valley continues
Socialist Party Wales and North West conferences
The Socialist 24 February 2016 |
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