Morrison Facilities Services, now owned by Mears, carries out responsive and planned maintenance on 70% of council properties in Leeds. There are in the region of 300 employees at the company, represented by Ucatt, GMB and Unite .
The dispute concerns proposed cuts in workers take-home pay, changes in terms and conditions including pensions and alleged failure to consult on redundancies and jobs at risk.
Unite regional officer Mark Fieldhouse said: “We urge the company to get around the table to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement for all staff as soon as possible. The workers’ earnings are divided into basic pay and performance related pay. Management wants to drastically cut back on the performance pay element which could mean total earnings slashed by more than 40%. This is clearly unacceptable to our hardworking members who maintain the social housing stock in Leeds.
“The company also wants to stop making employer pension contributions on the performance pay element – and just make them on the basic pay. Again, ruthlessly attacking our members’ retirement income is unacceptable.”
Ucatt regional secretary Rob Morris said: “The company has failed to enter into meaningful negotiations, leaving the unions no option but to seek a ballot for industrial action.”
Mr Morris added: “It is imperative that Morrison’s management understand that this issue is not going to go away and enter into meaningful negotiations with the unions concerned.
GMB regional officer Rachel Dix said: “It is with regret that we now embark on a ballot for industrial action but in the wake of changes which could have severe repercussions on our member’s living standards, we really have no other options. The members have been incredibly patient over the last few months given the immense pressures and uncertainty they are facing.
“We have sought and continue to seek clarification on the meaning of company intentions and we do want to reach a resolution with Morrison but in the absence of concrete reassurances our membership have said that they are not prepared to stand by and allow such attacks to go unchallenged.
“Our door remains open and we are hopeful that talks will be constructive in the forthcoming weeks. We have a lot of work to do – the workers' trust in their employer has all but been shattered.”