Dundee council has warned of ‘significant disruption’ to property repairs in the city as trades workers begin strike action.
More than 300 joiners, electricians, plumbers, labourers, and scaffolders are downing tools for three weeks in a dispute over the use of subcontractors and vehicle trackers.
The council has suspended all non-emergency repairs and halted construction work during the strike action.
This includes planned improvements on multi-storey buildings, adapting homes for disabled tenants, and preparing properties to relet.
Steven Geekie, Shop Stewards’ convener, told STV News that “our guys are sick of our work going out. We understand they’ve got to subcontract some work, but when we’re out there working and we see private firms doing our work, it’s a kick in the teeth for our guys.
“Make no bones about it, our guys are going to lose money, and this cost of living crisis is biting hard, and these guys are on the gate, and that shows you how committed they are.”
He added: “A lot of our guys have been lifelong employees, and they see the things that are going on, and that’s why they’re here. No more.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s trades workers at Dundee City Council are determined to hold management to account over outsourcing plans. The strike action will initially last for three weeks before further action is taken unless the council drops this disastrous proposal.”
While the dispute is centred on claims that public contracts are being prepared for outsourcing by Dundee City Council, the trade union also claims that the tracking system is being used by council management to monitor employee movements.
The claims are being denied by the council, who also say the use of subcontractors is temporary and there are ‘no plans’ to outsource trade jobs.
Both sides in the dispute say they are willing to talk and get around the negotiating table, but the union is prepared for further action should the discussions fail to bear fruit.
Bob Macgregor from Unite said: “We had a meeting yesterday, and it was a productive meeting, but it’s all promises, and no action, and the guys need to see some action so they can get back to work.
“It is a long strike, and it may escalate; if the guys tell us they want to escalate because there’s not any movement from the council, then we will escalate the strike, and it might be all out for a number of weeks.”
The three-week strike is planned to be followed by another 16 days of strikes through May and June.
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