Socialist Worker

Leeds refuse workers begin all-out strike

Issue No. 2168

Striking refuse workers in Leeds join a mass picket. Could this be a taste of things to come?  (Pic:Marven Scott)

Striking refuse workers in Leeds join a mass picket. Could this be a taste of things to come? (Pic:Marven Scott)


Over 200 refuse and street cleaning workers in Leeds walked out on indefinite strike on Monday of this week in a dispute over pay.

The workers are members of Unison, GMB and Unite unions and work for the city council. They are facing massive pay cuts after undergoing a “job evaluation”.

The largest picket was at Cross Hill where 150 workers persuaded some agency staff not to go in.

Unison steward Steve Proctor told Socialist Worker, “The council is planning on taking £5,000 from my wages.

“The feeling here is the cuts should have started with the managers earning £60,000. We will stay out until we win.”

The job evaluation scheme that triggered the dispute is part of an agreement between town hall bosses and unions to provide equal pay for men and women workers.

However, in a typical New Labour fudge, there was no agreement to provide extra funding to pay more to those whose work was undervalued.

Instead, councils are now cutting the wages of one group to pay more to others.

One steward who attended a recent union mass meeting said, “Five times our jobs have been assessed by the council. Four times they came up with a good result showing we should not have a pay cut.

“Then the council decided it wanted an ‘independent panel’ to assess us, and guess what? It came up with a large pay cut.”

Send messages of support to branch@leedsunisonlg.org.uk


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