Gravediggers set for strike over job loss announcement

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Crematorium groundsmen and grave diggers in South Yorkshire have voted to take strike action in a dispute over job losses.

The staff are employed by Glendale Managed Services, grounds maintenance contractor at Rotherham Crematorium and cemeteries across the borough.

Glendale plans to axe three of its 12 workers who dig graves and maintain grounds.

Public service union Unison has balloted its members over the dispute, with 87.5 per cent voting for strike action on a 100 per cent turnout.

Robin Symonds, Unison regional organiser, said: “We were never convinced by Glendale’s explanation of the need for redundancies.

“It’s anyone’s guess what’s going on here.

“It seems our members are being put through the stress of an unnecessary redundancy exercise and that is unforgiveable.

“We will decide over the next few days when the strike action will begin.”

The company entered into a 30-day consultation period last month.

A spokesman for Dignity, Rotherham Council’s main bereavement services contractor, which employs Glendale, said: “The contract for grounds maintenance and grave digging between Dignity and Glendale is still running and in no way will the service to the public be affected.

“Glendale provides purely grounds maintenance and grave-digging services and the crematorium is operated and administered by Dignity employees, so funeral services will continue.”