Rotherham's gravedigger strike is off after pay offer accepted

Unison branch secretary Ruth Askwith.Unison branch secretary Ruth Askwith.
Unison branch secretary Ruth Askwith.
THE Rotherham gravediggers dispute has been buried after staff accepted a pay offer.

The cemetery maintenance workers – employed by private contractor Glendale Grounds Maintenance – had been involved in a long-running dispute over pay.

A nine-day strike had looked likely but Unison said it was delighted that the company put forward an offer deemed acceptable by staff.

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Ruth Askwith, the union’s Rotherham branch secretary, said: “Workers have stood up for themselves and got the result they wanted.

“It means they can now concentrate on doing the job they care passionately about – and will get a fair wage for doing it.”

The accepted offer will mean staff are paid the real living wage – backdated to April 1, which amounts to more than £400 for some of the lowest paid workers.

Wages will also be updated in April next year to the revised real living wage plus 20p, Unison said.

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Payments made to staff to be available if needed on weekends and bank holidays will also double, from £20 to £40 – and the rate for staff responsible for opening and closing cemetery gates will also increase.

The agreement means the lowest-paid workers will see their salary increase by almost 30 per cent in two years.

Unison regional organiser Dan Wood said: “This is a fantastic outcome for staff who were sick of missing out simply because they’re employed by a private company rather than the council.

“Workers were ready to walk out to make their feelings known. Luckily Glendale has seen sense and put forward an offer that staff are happy with, so the dispute can be put to bed.”

Glendale is subcontracted by Dignity, which has a long-term contract to manage Rotherham Council’s cemeteries.

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