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Union ballot ‘overwhelming’ for AA strike

The GMB union has claimed that the results of its ballot among AA recovery drivers in favour of striking was ‘overwhelming’ and that a formal ballot will be called within the next couple of weeks.

Should the result of the vote be ratified, the GMB claims that more than 300 employees driving recovery vehicles will go on strike.

The AA, having had no official contact informing them of strike action, refused to comment, reiterating that it believed that GMB membership among its workers was very small – as little as 5%.

The AA Democratic Union took over as the official union of the GMB in March, and the AA claims its payroll records show very few workers are still members of the GMB.

However, the GMB claims that up to 40% of the total AA workforce of 8,000 is privately subscribed to them. It is looking to raise that total to 50%, which means it will have to be officially recognised again.

It also claims that the AA is planning redundancies of more than 300 employees at its Basingstoke headquarters and Maidstone call centre and is looking at further action.

According to GMB national officer Paul Maloney, the firm was planning to outsource call centre operations to India, although it has backed out of the deal. However, it is still looking to cut staff and sell off various arms of the firm.

He said: "The GMB warned staff in April that the venture Capitalists CVC and Primera, the new owners of the AA, were going to savagely cut staff numbers with a view to maximising profit, for the sole purpose of asset stripping and flotation on the stock market."

The AA reacted with incredulity to many of the claims, accusing the GMB of "having an axe to grind", and trying to whip up support for membership. A spokesman confirmed there will be 129 job losses as work transferred from Basingstoke, although more than half will be redeployed, but reiterated its commitment to call centres in the UK with a £10 million investment at its Newcastle and Cardiff bases.

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