Notification of Industrial Action

Merton Council has received notification from UNISON of their intention to take industrial action from Monday, 14 July through to Friday, 8 August 2003 inclusive.

This will be selective action in support of the union’s claim for an increase in the London Weighting allowance. The areas participating are Merton Link, the One Stop Shop facility based on the ground floor of the Civic Centre, and the recently opened Contact Centre, which handles most of the telephone calls made to the Council.

This will have an impact on the Council’s ability to operate services and residents should expect to experience significant delays for a response to either face-to-face or telephone enquiries.

Keith Davis, Director of Customer Services & Development Department, said:

“While the Council understands the concerns being expressed by employees regarding the claim for an increase in London Allowance, we cannot support any action that seriously impacts on the delivery or access of services to residents. The likely cost implications of agreeing to the demands of the union would be £8 million pounds per year, money that is not available.

“I can assure residents that every possible legal avenue is being explored to ensure the legality of the industrial action being taken. However there is a likelihood that services will be disrupted during the three-week period, commencing from Monday 14 July. Residents should utilise other channels of contact wherever possible including Merton’s Web Site and sending letters or emails as opposed to using the telephone. Other contingency plans are also being considered to alleviate the disruption to residents.

“It is a shame that Unison has chosen to disrupt a service that is still in its infancy and impacts on every resident in Merton. The Contact Centre has experienced some difficulties recently but these were being eradicated. Unfortunately this strike action could have a negative effect on Merton’s positive attempts to improve customer service and access, and the satisfaction levels of residents when making contact with the Council.”

Further information can be found on http://www.merton.gov.uk

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