Socialist Worker

Leeds bins: Investigation begins into employment of scabs

Issue No. 2176

The all-out indefinite strike by Leeds refuse workers, which is now into its ninth week, is putting Leeds city council bosses under increasing pressure.

As rubbish piles up across the city, the council has been using scab labour to try and minimise the impact of the strike. But government inspectors are investigating two agencies that unions say have been supplying workers to break the strike.

Inspectors have ordered both agencies to stop supplying workers while the investigation continues.

The council had said in a statement that it is “recruiting extra staff to provide refuse collection services to the people of Leeds during the current strike.”

It added that adverts on its website were “calling for applicants to help deliver the council’s waste collections on a temporary basis”.

But such adverts are not listed on the council’s website this week.

Workers believe that the council risked breaking the law by threatening to employ people to do the job of striking workers.

Council bosses said that, although they had made a final offer to workers, they would also consider alternative proposals by the union.

They also said that they would withdraw the threat of privatisation if a deal was reached and workers returned to work.

The council is clearly wobbling – and union leaders should ratchet up the pressure to take advantage of it.

The mood on the picket lines remains determined. “In nine weeks only four people have gone back to work,” one rep told Socialist Worker.

The unions should take urgent measures to counter the financial hardship that striking workers will be suffering. They should be doing everything possible to build solidarity and support for the workers across the trade union movement.

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Article information

Tue 3 Nov 2009, 18:39 GMT
Issue No. 2176
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