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Striking HTS staff set to march to Harlow Council offices

News / Wed 26th Apr 2023 at 10:36am

MORE than 300 staff responsible for Harlow council’s housing stock and maintaining council grounds and buildings are to march on the town hall to demand fair pay.  

When: 12:00, Thursday 27 April 2023, reaching Civic Centre at 12:30

Where: Begins at William Aylmer pub, Harlow, CM20 1DG 

             Ends at Civic Centre, Harlow, CM20 1WG

The workers began strike action in late February and are employed by HTS, which is wholly owned by Harlow district council with a board of directors made up of councillors. They are striking because they are paid less than workers doing the same jobs at other local authorities. 

HTS’ staff are demanding a cost-of-living payment and for a salary re-grading so their pay is brought up to industry standards. The council is “refusing to negotiate”, despite its latest financial report recording assets of £63 million on 31 March 2022, an increase of £19 million from the year before. During the year ending March 2023, Harlow’s 33 elected councillors received a total of £202,065 in allowances claims Unite the Union.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “HTS’ workforce know full well that the company is controlled by Harlow council. It is the council that has made the decision to leave them to struggle on below standard wages even though its coffers are healthy. This is disgraceful behaviour but is particularly bad during a cost of living crisis. Our members are marching to the town hall to show the council it is not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes. The council must give HTS workers fair pay now.”

Strikes are taking place this week on Thursday (27 April) and Friday (28 April), with further strikes set for 2, 3 and 4 May. Industrial action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved. 

The strikes have severely disrupted housing repairs and maintenance, street cleaning, grounds maintenance, cleaning and caretaking of council buildings and parks and gardening services. 

Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: “Harlow council is hiding behind HTS to keep these outsourced workers on unfair wages and has sent the company to negotiate in bad faith. HTS’ management can hardly even make a pretence at engaging in talks at Acas because Harlow council controls the firm’s purse strings. Harlow council can afford to put forward an acceptable offer and that’s what needs to happen.”

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13 Comments for Striking HTS staff set to march to Harlow Council offices:

David Forman
2023-04-26 12:21:49

I certainly hope to attend to support public sector workers fighting for a fair wage. HTS workers deserve a proper wage rise and a sensible grading structure.

Steve black
2023-04-27 03:53:53

Abbotwold disgusting pay some one to sweep it

Daniel Bayford
2023-04-27 07:53:19

Hts are not fit for purpose I waited 4 years for them to send a roofer out to repair my gutters and when they finally turned up 2 men in 2 different vans said they couldn't fix it because they were not allowed to go up a ladder then they left you couldn't make it up a total waste of tax payers money

David Forman
2023-04-27 08:20:06

Daniel, the delays in housing repairs is to down to a shortage of resources built up over many years due to central government cuts to local authorities. The years when outsourced to Kier were in charge meant profits were extracted. Also, not paying workers enough means it is hard to recruit and retain staff. The issue with not using ladders is a result of Working at Heights Regulations 2005 to prevent deaths and serious injury: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/the-law.htm

Bob
2023-04-27 08:51:45

I call them Half( job) Technical Services. Personally I have had the use of this service and HTS has not yet finished any of the work. I have watched them apparently refitting a small flat and spending most of their time sitting in their van on their phone for hours. It took 3 months to complete. Shameful and do not deserve a rise, they are not a productive group.

Bob
2023-04-27 08:53:12

I call them Half( job) Technical Services. Personally I have had the use of this service and HTS has not yet finished any of the work. I have watched them apparently refitting a small flat and spending most of their time sitting in their van on their phone for hours. It took 3 months to complete. Shameful and do not deserve a rise, they are not a productive group.

Bruce Downey
2023-04-27 09:34:12

Have the scouts brought this on 🤔 just a correction it begins at the pub and ends in the pub. Cheers 🍻

Daniel Bayford
2023-04-27 10:36:35

David if the fact that the working at heights rule stops the roofers climbing a ladder why send out 2 vans with 2 roofers with ladders on there roof if they can't use them poor excuse im afraid and also I have them on my video door bell sitting in the vans for an hour before knocking on the door they do not deserve more money they don't deserve what they get paid now

Daniel Bayford
2023-04-27 11:19:04

I just see all the hts staff up town with there banners the mad thing is the same amount of repairs will get done today as every other day none as usual

Mark Gough
2023-04-27 11:44:03

Who comes up with this cobblers - roofers can't go up ladders? How do they repair roofs then? HTS is just a joke - it's just the same Union obsessed drivel we've had for decades! Check out the sickness absence! They treat it as additional holiday. As for complaining about what Councillors get - they are having a laugh. £220k between 33 volunteers who do it over and above another job! Ridiculous comments!

G . cream
2023-04-27 15:46:40

Roofers can't always work off ladders as health and safety companies rules, ladders are for short work periods, sometimes scaffold or mobile tower is needed to carry out the work

Alex
2023-04-27 16:10:34

If they're passing northbrooks could they pop in and fix my leaking roof? 18 months is long enough to wait.

Charlie
2023-04-28 21:38:23

In reply to Steve Blacks comment about Abbotsweld needing sweeping. Why? I don't live anywhere near Abbotsweld, but if it needs sweeping, who exactly is to blame? I don't know the extent of the area that needs attention, but it is not the Council's fault if it needs doing. Like any other area of the town, we hear of litter and rubbish all over the place, and people just start moaning that the Council should do something about it. It is the resident's who are to blame in this or any other town as they are the ones who litter everywhere. Truth is if people were not so inconsiderate in disposing of their rubbish/litter, we would not need any sweepers at all, and they could be redeployed elsewhere and saving tax payers some money. This country must be one of the dirtiest in the world, and the blame lies entirely with the people, not the ones who have to come and clean it up. Go to Japan or Singapore and you won't even see a dog end on the ground, as if people drop any ltter the authorities come down on then like a ton of bricks.

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