Merton Council has endured its first day of industrial action on Monday, 14 July. This follows an announcement by UNISON of their intention to disrupt Merton Link, the One Stop Shop facility based on the ground floor of the Civic Centre, and the recently opened Contact Centre, which handles the majority of incoming calls to the Council. This forms part of selective action, across most London Boroughs, in support of the union’s claim for an increase in the London Allowance.
Any settlement of the union’s claim would require an additional increase in Council Tax of £100 per property or the deletion of a number of services being offered to residents. The latter could result in redundancies affecting UNISON members.
The Council wrote to UNISON, before the commencement of this action, asking them to reconsider their position or face the potential of a legal challenge but this was to no avail. As a result of their refusal it has become necessary to implement a few contingency plans to ensure a service is available to residents.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Andrew Judge said:
“While the Council has done their utmost to limit any impact that this action has on residents it is with regret that significant delays should be expected.”
“Resident’s should make use of other ways of contacting the Council including its website at http://www.merton.gov.uk. They should also reconsider calling the Council at another time if they find their call has been placed in a queue with a substantial number of callers already waiting.”
“It is a shame that UNISON has opted to attack the most vulnerable of the community by affecting the telephone and face-to-face enquiry services. Let us hope that an emergency does not arise and a resident, as a result of the industrial action, is unable to get through to our services. Unfortunately that would highlight how inappropriate this action is.”
Further information can be found on http://www.merton.gov.uk