Gravediggers postpone strike action as UNISON declares support

by | Oct 20, 2023

Image: Graves at Glendale

Gravediggers of Glendale Grounds Maintenance have suspended their strike over pay disputes as a new offer is being considered. 

Staff at Glendale were being paid around £1,100 less a year than their council-employed counterparts, according to UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside.

The cemetery maintenance staff have now been offered another rise in pay from Glendale Grounds Maintenance and postponed strikes.

UNISON Rotherham branch secretary Ruth Askwith in the press release said: “Workers have made it clear they won’t be treated less favourably than their council-employed counterparts.

“Glendale staff do really important work, ensuring people’s loved ones are laid to rest in a dignified manner.”

Glendale Grounds Maintenance delivers the crematoria service for the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council through subcontractor ‘Dignity’.

Richard Shepherd, Dignity’s Business Leader for Rotherham Crematorium & Cemeteries, said: “We are pleased that the strike by employees of Glendale Managed Services scheduled to take place this weekend will no longer be going ahead.

“However, we would like to reassure grave owners and bereaved families that any industrial action would not impact on the services they receive. As a nationwide company we can utilise our people and resources wherever they are most needed, and we also require any contractor to have a contingency for occasions such as this.”

The strikes were originally planned to take place from Friday 20 October till Sunday 22 October after workers rejected an original pay offer from their employer Glendale Grounds Maintenance. 

Nine days of strikes were planned across October and November after workers felt they had ‘lost out’ since being transferred out of direct council employment over a decade ago. 

However, workers will work today as normal as they stand down to consult with employees over a new offer.

Regional organiser of UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside, Dan Wood, said: “Staff have fought long and hard to see their pay improve. 

“It’s right they take time to consider the latest offer from their employer.”