Drivers quit union in pay deal dispute

PUBLISHED: 17:40 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:08 26 October 2009

FURIOUS drivers at a company which delivers supplies to schools across several counties have resigned from their union over a pay dispute. Workers at WGC-based Herts Business Services (HBS) are angry with Unison over a pay settlement which they claim will

FURIOUS drivers at a company which delivers supplies to schools across several counties have resigned from their union over a pay dispute.

Workers at WGC-based Herts Business Services (HBS) are angry with Unison over a pay settlement which they claim will see their wages reduce in future years.

The deal has been reached with Herts County Council, for whom HBS operates as an independent company.

Some months ago a new pay proposal was put to the 80-strong workforce, with union agreement.

It meant their wages would include such additions as fringe allowances and London weighting, but would be valid for the next 10 years.

A £1,000 one-off payout was included on May 1 but effectively, according to disgruntled employees, their wages would go down after that.

One said staff had voted for it because many were young and liked the idea of an extra £1,000 in their pockets this month - despite the fact they would lose out in future years as certain allowances to soften the blow were phased out.

He maintained the drivers had shouted loudest and longest because it was a job that would take them to retirement.

He added: "I accept choices and I accept fairness but it is the total unfairness of what is happening that gets me."

Another colleague said: "We don't expect to get rich because it is a Monday to Friday job with Saturdays sometimes, but to maintain what we had eight years ago we will have to do more and more overtime."

Nalin Cooke, Unison's regional organiser, said he sympathised with HBS staff, but the changes were part of a nationwide consultation designed to eliminate inequalities of pay and ensure gender protection in the workplace.

It was a process that had to happen sooner or later, he said, and the downside was that some people's pay did go down.

But he pointed out that Unison had balloted staff at HBS who had accepted the deal and their overtime rate had increased as a result of negotiations.

Mr Cooke said: "I don't blame them for getting upset but this is not something we have any control over.

"The trade unions fought for equal pay in the workforce and while you get some winners and some losers, some traditional areas are getting hit.


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