Further strike action by EDF Energy smart meter installers in London over the imposition of tracker devices in vehicles will seriously hamper the company’s 2020 installation target, Unite, the country’s largest union, has warned.

Unite, which represents the 60 meter installers and fixers, called on the company ‘to step on the accelerator’ and settle the dispute otherwise there will be 72 hours of strike action, starting on Tuesday 6 March. There have already been five days of strikes.

The dispute also centres on random drug and alcohol testing – what particularly irks Unite is that the managers have refused to have the tracker devices in their own company cars and are not included in the drink/drug abuse testing regime.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “EDF and the other energy companies, according to Which? magazine, are well behind the government target to install a smart meter in every household by 2020.

“In order to meet this target, the energy companies will need to install 24 meters a minute, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Therefore, strike action by smart meter fitters will be hurting the company.

“The EDF management has promised a written offer to resolve this dispute - but it has not yet materialised. We have three more days of action next week - so the employer needs to put their foot on the negotiating accelerator.

“Drug and alcohol testing and installation of tracker devices will cost the company significant sums. This comes as the debt of £40 million in stolen electricity remains uncollected by EDF Energy.

“And what runs through this dispute is the hypocritical ‘them and us’ culture that EDF Energy is riddled with – there is one law for the bosses and another for the workers.”

Unite members had voted by an overwhelming 92 per cent for strike action over excessive monitoring, including the imposition of random drug and alcohol testing and tracking devices.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.