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Sandwell builders to strike

According to the Unite union, carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, roofers, glaziers, plumbers and painters who work for Sandwell Council are angry that an agreed market supplement of £2,900 has been withdrawn.

The industrial action is expected to impact council property repairs and add delays to its maintenance schedules.

The council agreed to pay its construction workers a one-off £2,900 market supplement last year following months of negotiations. According to Unite, the council has now reneged on the deal.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members have had enough of Sandwell’s disgraceful behaviour. It is refusing to honour an agreement it made over a year ago and making flimsy excuses. These are skilled workers who fully deserve a market supplement in recognition of the higher wages they could earn elsewhere. They are absolutely right to strike and they have Unite’s full support in doing so.”

The workers intend to strike on 5th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 19th, 23rd and 26th February and 1st, 4th, 8th, 11th, 15th, 18th and 22nd March. Further strike action will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved, the union said.

Unite regional officer Lee Wiggetts-Clinton said: “Unite has given the council every opportunity over the last year to resolve this dispute. Strike action can still be avoided but that requires the council to pay what it promised.”

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