Angry workers threatened with job cuts at emergency services communications company Airwave may vote to go on strike, according to their union.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) will ballot members for strike action next Tuesday (24 February) in a dispute over compulsory redundancies, where Airwave plans to cut 95 of the 829 staff (11%). Airwave is a wireless data networking and radio service currently used by police and other emergency organisations. Strikes would seriously disrupt the service, according to CWU.
CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “By imposing compulsory redundancies and aggravating the situation with an unrealistically short consultation period, the company has left us no choice but to ballot for industrial action.
“We question the need for the level of the cuts, but the move to industrial action could easily be avoided if the company acts with reason and responsibility and adopts a voluntary approach to redundancies.”
The first round of job cuts are planned to take place on 16 March, with the bulk of job losses set for the Rugby service centre.
An Airwave spokesman told Personnel Today that compulsory lay-offs were unavoidable.
“Although we expect there to be compulsory redundancies we are, as far as possible, going down the voluntary redundancy route,” he said.
Airwave’s HR director Geoff Smith added: “Our two key concerns are to support our people through this difficult period and ensure our customers do not experience any impact on the service we give them.”
CWU’s ballot closes on 1 March and any resulting industrial action would affect 180 front-line staff.