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EDF Energy workers in Exeter to join strike over pay

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

EDF Energy's offices on Exeter Business Park

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Staff in Exeter are among nearly 500 EDF Energy workers due to take strike action in a dispute over pay.

Centres set to be affected by the strikes on Tuesday, May 6, and Thursday, May 8, include the company’s offices at Osprey House, Sowton, and Gadeon House on Exeter Business Park.

Unite, the country’s largest union, said the two days of strike action would lead to delays in fixing and installing meters for customers.

Revenue protection could also be hit – as the workers going on strike include those dealing with business owners and private customers who are allegedly fiddling and stealing electricity.

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And it warned that further action could be on the cards unless negotiations with EDF Energy’s management succeed in reaching an agreement.

A total of 486 employees, members of Unite, were balloted in the London, South Eastern, South West and Eastern regions. They voted by a margin of 77 per cent to take strike action and by 88 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.

They have rejected a 2013 pay offer of two per cent and a non-consolidated, one off payment of £200 for the year April 2013 to April 2014.

Other aspects of the dispute are specific to workers in the South East and Eastern regions.

Unite regional officer Kasab Onay said: “The adverse impact of two days of strike action on May 6 and 8 will be significant in terms of installing meters for customers and in relation to revenue protection.

“Unless the management of this highly profitable company sits down and engages in constructive talks, more industrial action is on the cards.

“The two per cent pay offer fails to take account of the true cost of living. The argument is really quite simple. Those who make handsome profits for the company, our members, have a right to expect a pay rise that at least keeps up with the cost of living.”

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: “We have offered employees working in our metering division a final pay offer of two per cent with an additional lump sum of £200. The negotiations relate to the 2013 pay deal, which once agreed would be backdated to last April.

“We believe our final offer is fair and competitive. This is part of our commitment to our customers to ensure our costs are controlled and affordable.

“An identical offer was accepted last year by the vast majority of a much larger group of employees in the same part of our business – including those working in our customer service centres.

“We have been in continuous talks with Unite and other unions for more than 12 months to agree the pay increase and we remain open as always to meeting employee representatives.”

The EDF centres that will be affected by the strikes are in Bexleyheath, London, Crawley, Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth.

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