Following members overwhelming rejection of the Cadent business offer (1.5% increase to base pay) UNISON and the GMB requested further negotiations with the business on the basis that an improved offer would be tabled.
These negotiations took place on the 16th November. While a slightly improved offer was tabled, the overwhelming view of your negotiating representatives was that the offer still failed to address the substantive pay claim submitted to the business many months ago. It is also clear that since that claim was submitted, the cost-of-living increase faced by members has continued to grow, while morale amongst the workforce is at rock bottom. This following the botched reorganisation which attempted to shift the target for savings onto the lowest paid workers, leaving the business understaffed and facing a winter underprepared and in danger of failure.
The joint trade unions were also disappointed that despite the reported and known problems with the operation of annualised hours, little progress had been made to address these and the business was now making any progress conditional on concluding this year’s pay deal, despite its clear and ongoing business risk.
The joint trade unions have agreed that we will continue to seek a negotiated outcome with the business, and we hope a more acceptable offer can be made. One that at least mirrors the base pay award made to the chief executive and further reflects the massive profits the business made last year (c£1 billion) and the contribution members made to those profits.
We are however conscious that talks cannot continue to drag on and so we have set a deadline of the end of November, by which any improved offer should be made. If this does not happen preparations will begin to hold a lawful industrial action ballot. This is with a view to holding the first national strike of gas workers for decades in 2022. While this is not what we seek it is becoming clear that if members are not to lose out, we have little choice but to defend your living standards and your right to work for a decent employer that values its workforce. Thank you.
From your joint Cadent Staff Trade Unions – UNISON and the GMB