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Industrial Striking maintenance workers in Manchester win inflation-busting pay rise

HOUSING maintenance workers in Manchester have won an inflation-busting 20 per cent pay rise after standing firm through 80 days of strikes.

The 180 Unite members, working for Manchester Mears and Mears-operated joint venture Manchester Working, maintain and repair 11,000 council houses in the city.

But they were being paid up to £3,500 less than colleagues for undertaking the same work, said Unite, prompting them to take to the picket lines in May 2017.

The dispute became a rallying point for the Manchester labour movement.

Unite said this week that workers’ determination and solidarity has won an across-the-board pay rise of 20 per cent, pay parity with similar groups of workers in the housing maintenance sector and the dumping of changes to contracts which the workers dubbed a “sackers’ charter.”

Workers overwhelmingly backed the deal in a ballot after negotiations involving Unite, Mears and Manchester Council.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Fisher said: “This is a victory for solidarity and direct action. Our members have stuck together through thick and thin.

“There were those who said these contracts were so broken they could not be fixed, but Unite has proved them wrong.

“This dispute would not have been won without the total support of Unite, which is able to fully support its members when they had no option but to take strike action.

“The strike has brought the workforce closer together as a workforce and who will be primed to push back against the employer if fresh industrial relations issues develop in the future.”

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