Gravediggers to join union strikes against Dacorum Borough Council

Gravediggers working for Dacorum Borough Council will join refuse collectors in going on strike
Gravediggers working for Dacorum Borough Council will join refuse collectors in going on strike

Gravediggers have become the latest council workers to announce that they will strike in an ongoing dispute over cuts to redundancy pay.

The strike will see gravediggers employed by Dacorum Borough Council walk out for almost two weeks from Tuesday, May 8, until Monday May 21.

Other council employees, including refuse collectors, who are also involved in the same dispute over redundancy pay, will join the gravediggers on the picket lines on May 8 and 12.

Refuse workers will also walk out on May 29 and June 2, a move that would disrupt some households waste collection for a number of weeks.

The council’s redundancy allowance for staff was reduced in September from 2.2 weeks’ per year worked to 1.5 weeks per year worked.

It equates to a possible loss of up to £7,000 for long-standing employees, say unions.

Refuse workers from both Unite and Unison protested about the changes outside The Forum last Wednesday.

Now the addition of the striking gravediggers will prove a blow to Dacorum Borough Council, as more services are affected.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Nalin Cooke said: “After the first round of strikes the unions made it clear they wanted to get back to the negotiating table to settle the dispute and end the disruption to local residents and businesses. Despite councillors recently agreeing to meet with the unions, they have so far failed to set up a meeting.

“The council needs to stop ignoring the issue and instead should invest time in trying to resolve the dispute.”

Last week, a council spokesman told the Gazette that the change in redundancy pay was part of a reform to terms and conditions that were ‘modern and attractive to staff’, and that pay had been brought into line with other local authorities and was above the statutory redundancy rate.

The spokesman added: “We will do our best to maintain essential services and minimise disruption as far as possible. Some disruption is unavoidable as a consequence of industrial action and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”