Refuse workers in Peterborough held a wildcat strike on Monday morning this week and were refusing to work until a dispute over their “single status” pay deal has been resolved.
Some 70 workers downed tools saying that council bosses had gone back on an agreement to pay them thousands of pounds in back pay.
They say they are owed compensation as a result of a salary restructuring by the authority. They are refusing to go back to work until the outstanding wages are paid.
“The boys are refusing to work until it is sorted,” said one refuse worker. “This whole situation has been a diabolical cock-up by the council and they need to do something about it.”
The strike began first thing on Monday morning and initially involved about 40 workers. By 9.30am the majority of the council’s refuse workforce walked out to join them.
The trigger for the walkout was Peterborough council’s decision to implement a single status pay structure. While some wages have gone down as a result of the review, others – including those of many city refuse workers – were supposed to have gone up.
The workers were promised back pay to make up for wages they should have been earning. The strikers say the council has gone back on this promise.
One striker said, “After the job evaluation, the majority of us were supposed to have a wage increase, and we were told we would be compensated for back pay we were owed.
“We got letters promising us the money so we had it in black and white. But the council has since turned round and said we’re not getting it any more. They have moved the goalposts and we have been left in the dark as to what’s happening.”
Another protesting worker said he and his co-workers had been left out of pocket by the council’s apparent about-turn on its pay promise.
“People are financially stuck because the council has messed us about,” he said.
“We have loans and overdrafts to pay and need to know when we will be compensated. We are not going to do any work until further notice – until things are sorted out.”