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Sat October 20 2018

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Mears settles Manchester dispute

20 Feb Housing maintenance contractor Mears has brought to an end a long-running industrial dispute with employees in Manchester by reaching a new pay deal.

There have been more than 80 days of strikes in the past nine months
There have been more than 80 days of strikes in the past nine months

Unite, the union that represents the workforce, is claiming victory.

The dispute has seen more than 80 days of strike action since May 2017, involving 180 employees of Manchester Mears and Manchester Working (a joint venture company operated by Mears). The workers undertake repairs and maintenance on 11,000 council properties managed by Northwards Housing, although the contracts are tendered by Manchester council.

The dispute was over disparity of pay, as some workers were being paid up to £3,500 less than colleagues for undertaking the same work.

The final deal was reached following detailed negotiations with both Mears and Manchester council.

According to Unite, the deal will generally see across the board pay increases of 20%, along with equalisation of pay within and across trade groups.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Fisher said: “This is a victory for solidarity and direct action. Our members have stuck together through thick and thin. There were those who said these contracts were so broken they could not be fixed, but Unite has proved them wrong.

 “This dispute would not have been won without the total support of Unite, which is able to fully support its members when they had no option but to take strike action.

“The strike has brought the workforce closer together as a workforce and who will be primed to push back against the employer if fresh industrial relations issues develop in the future.”


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