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Strike averted as Dundee City Council agree to downgrade ‘essential’ tasks during lockdown

Dundee House.
Dundee House.

Unite Scotland has claimed a “significant win” in a dispute over essential working with Dundee City Council.

The union says the local authority has agreed to downgrade 22 work tasks to non-essential.

Workers had been told to come into work to repair extractor fans, cover graffiti, renew timber posts and renew light pendants.

However, the union successfully argued none of these are essential duties, as per the current Scottish Government guidance.

The council and union got round the table after Unite members in the contract services division held a consultative workplace ballot.

Landmark Dundee City Council ballot over ‘essential’ lockdown tasks looms closer

The ballot showed 95 per cent support for taking industrial action from the membership.

It comes as it’s revealed at least 1,691 people have caught the virus at work in Scotland since April last year.

‘Genuine fear’ among employees

Dougie Maguire, Unite regional co-ordinating officer, said around 300 workers were being exposed to non-essential tasks.

He said: “The reality was that our members were genuinely fearful about catching or transmitting the virus to tenants, work colleagues or family members while conducting non-essential work.

Dougie Maguire

“There’s no doubt that the overwhelming support to move forward with an industrial action ballot over this dispute brought the Council back to its senses, but we are pleased they have recognised the legitimacy of what we have been saying.

“The victory should also be a message to other local authorities around Scotland that Unite will fight back and contest what we believe to be non-essential work, while our members remain fully committed to providing emergency responses to local communities.”

 

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