Around 100 council workers responsible for building and maintenance duties are poised to strike in February and March, raising concerns about potential disruption to housing repairs.

The Unite union, representing the workers, announced the planned action, citing a broken agreement with the council.

According to the union, the council reneged on a promise made last August to pay a market supplement of £2,900 to address workers’ wage concerns.

“Our members have had enough of Sandwell’s disgraceful behaviour,” declared Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

“It is refusing to honour an agreement it made over a year ago and making flimsy excuses. These are skilled workers who fully deserve a market supplement in recognition of the higher wages they could earn elsewhere.

“They are absolutely right to strike and they have Unite’s full support in doing so.”

The strike is scheduled for 14 days across February and March, with walkouts planned for 5, 9, 12, 15, 19, 23, and 26 February, and then on 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, and 22 March.

This industrial action could significantly impact maintenance schedules and cause delays in repairs for the council’s 28,000 housing units, claims Sandwell Council.

Acknowledging the concerns but hoping to avoid a strike, a spokesperson for the council said, “We understand the concerns Unite have raised on behalf of their members.

“We will continue to work with them to find a resolution to the dispute and hope that industrial action can be avoided.”

The upcoming strike highlights the ongoing concerns over public sector wages and the potential for further labour unrest in the face of rising living costs.

Unite regional officer Lee Wiggetts-Clinton said: “Unite has given the council every opportunity over the last year to resolve this dispute. Strike action can still be avoided but that requires the council to pay what it promised.”

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