In April 2021 the city council took back control over delivering its environmental services, including street cleansing, park management and cemeteries and burials.
These had been carried out in a joint venture arrangement with Norse in previous years, but the decision was made to bring them back in-house to give the council a greater level of control in how they are delivered.
The council formed a new wholly-owned company called Norwich City Services Ltd to deliver these services. In April 2022, colleagues who currently provide the council’s building maintenance services via another joint venture arrangement will transfer into the new company to deliver those services.
The council has been regularly communicating with the trade unions throughout the process to make sure they and their members understand the process of transfer to the new company. Additional context has been given regarding the challenges facing the company in the current climate, and how that impacts the initial pay offer for new staff.
The company has made two offers of improved terms and conditions to the new workforce, alongside making commitments to offer further improvements in future years, tied to the success of the company.
Despite the lengthy negotiations involved and the enhanced offer by the company, which incorporates a 2.5% pay increase and other enhancements on terms and conditions, an agreement over the pay offer has not been reached and the trade unions have confirmed that industrial action will begin later this month.
NCSL has plans in place to ensure that any disruption to essential services is kept to a minimum, but there may be a change in the way some services are delivered during those days.
A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “We are disappointed by this decision to carry out strike action.
“It’s troubling to read the unions’ claims about management making no attempt to try and reach an agreement. This couldn’t be further from the truth – both the council and the company have been in frequent talks with the unions, and in fact both parties are meeting with ACAS tomorrow to continue that dialogue and to try and reach an agreement.
“The company has made two offers of improved terms and conditions to the new workforce, and has also made commitments to offer further improvements in future years, tied to the success of the company.
“Despite these lengthy negotiations and the enhanced offer by the company, which incorporates a 2.5% pay increase and other enhancements on terms and conditions, it has not been possible to reach a solution and the trade unions have confirmed that industrial action will be taking place.
“Our residents can rest assured that NCSL has plans in place to ensure that any disruption to essential services is kept to a minimum.
“The company will continue to work constructively with the trade unions going forward, to ensure NCSL is successful in delivering what it needs to– not only for its staff but also for the city’s residents who rely on them to keep essential services going.”