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Sandwell Council staff call off strike action after substantial pay rise agreed

The lowest-paid workers at Sandwell Council have called-off strike action after securing a ‘substantial wage rise’ following a dispute over job grading.

The customer service assistants employed at the council were due to begin industrial action on 10 May in a row caused by a “botched” job evaluation process which failed to take into account the work the staff undertook.

But Unite, the union representing the staff, said the industrial action could now be called off after Sandwell Council had made a suitable offer to members resolving the concerns.

As of today, the workers have been re-graded, meaning that those earning between £19,000 to £20,000 a year will eventually see their pay increase by £5,000 per annum.

Unite’s regional officer Brian Rickers said: “I am pleased that Sandwell council has seen reason and realised that its customer care assistants were being treated unfairly.

“Unite was adamant that this dispute could be resolved by negotiation and that has indeed proved to be the case.

“Sandwell’s customer care assistants who are the public face of the council will now be paid appropriately for the work they undertake.

“I would like to pay tribute to the commitment of the affected workers who despite their small numbers, through their solidarity, were able to stand up to the council and secure wage justice.”

All the involved members of both Unison and Unite, working across Sandwell’s local neighbourhood offices, had voted to begin a ‘work to rule’ from 10 May, which will see then refuse to take calls or pass along information and handle inquiries such as evictions.


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