NuGen Properties

Striking concrete mixer drivers head to HQ


HGV concrete mixer drivers employed by Maen Karne at Hayle and Penryn in Cornwall have been taking industrial action in a dispute over union recognition and pay.

The drivers, who are members of Unite, currently earn £12.30 an hour; the industry standard hourly rate for their role is around £14.42, according to their trade union, Unite.

The all-out strikes, which began on 18th September and will last until the end of November, are also over the company’s complete refusal to recognise the right for the workers to unionise or to engage with Unite for pay negotiations.

The workers also claim to have faced union-busting from the company for going on strike, being sent letters regarding redundancy proceedings that they regarded as intimidating.

Maen Karne is the Cornwall arm of GRS (formerly Galliford Road Stone).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “GRS needs to get its house in order. The Maen Karne side of the business is behaving disgracefully and dragging the entire company’s reputation through the mud.

“This is a company that underpays its workers, rejects their right to unionise, refuses to negotiate and has forced drivers to take time off for mental ill health after being targeted for their union activities.

“Let me be clear: GRS and Maen Karne’s attempts at union-busting will not work. Our members will not back down and neither will Unite.”

The striking drivers will stage a demonstration at GRS HQ in Nuneaton on the morning of Friday 10th November.

Unite regional officer Dave Smith said: “We are going to GRS’ headquarters to let the company know this dispute is not going anywhere, and it will only get worse if the firm’s poor behaviour continues. The only way to resolve this is to stop the union-busting, get round the table with Unite and put forward an acceptable pay offer.”

A spokesperson for GRS said: “Strike action by a small number of our HGV drivers is disappointing given we actively encourage open and constructive discussion with our employees. We have a fair and robust pay structure and review process in place. This has led to pay increases for HGV drivers in Cornwall well above inflation and ahead of other sectors, despite financial constraints which make further increases unsustainable. We respect their right to strike and we remain open to direct dialogue with them in the hope that we can get this situation resolved in the interests of all.”

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