Socialist Worker

Leeds bin workers keep an eye on council

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2180

Refuse workers in Leeds marched back into work on Wednesday of last week after forcing council bosses to retreat on a number of attacks on their pay and conditions—but workers now have to make sure that the council sticks to its promises.

Twelve weeks of all-out strike action forced the council to retreat from slashing workers’ pay and agree to negotiate new collection routes with the workers’ GMB and Unison unions.

But managers have tried to impose changes to routes without union agreement.

“The managers have been messing us about and doing as they please,” one GMB steward told Socialist Worker. “People have turned up to work only to be told, ‘You’re working an extra hour today’.

“And one worker overheard two senior managers talking about how they were going to get us back for the strike.”

Meanwhile workers are dealing with a huge backlog of rubbish. “I worked last Saturday on a shift where we usually clear around 11 or 12 tonnes of rubbish,” one worker told Socialist Worker. “This time we cleared 26 tonnes. We’re expected to do our normal work on top of clearing the backlog.”

Union reps have told workers not to undertake any changes to routes that haven’t been agreed and are preparing to elect representatives to be part of the working committee to renegotiate routes with the council.

They are set to meet the director of Leeds council, Neil Evans, on Wednesday.

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Tue 1 Dec 2009, 18:34 GMT
Issue No. 2180
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