Socialist Worker

Barking and Dagenham refuse workers set for 22 days of walkouts

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2453

Strikers out on the picket line in March this year

Strikers out on the picket line in March this year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Refuse lorry drivers in Barking and Dagenham, east London, were set to strike for 13 days from Wednesday of this week. 

The workers are fighting bosses’ plans to slash their pay by £1,000 a year. If talks don’t go ahead, they then plan to walk out from 30 May until 7 June. 

The GMB union members’ action is having a big impact as rubbish begins to pile up on the streets. 

Council bosses are clearly rattled and have accused the union of holding them to “ransom”. 

Workers completed a ten-day strike on Friday of last week and are determined to fight on. Bosses have refused to negotiate in talks at conciliation service Acas, only offering workers a £400 “goodwill” gesture. 

Break

During the last walkout bosses tried to break the strike using workers in the Unison and Unite unions that have signed up to the shoddy deal. 

But they refused to cross the picket line. It’s this sort of solidarity that can win this dispute. 

Workers have raised serious concerns about health and safety and allegations of management’s bullying tactics and attacks on their union. 

Bosses want to halve the time drivers have to do safety checks on their lorries to 15 minutes. If something were to go wrong, responsibility would fall on the drivers. 

The attack on workers’ pay is part of a bigger attack on local services—it is becoming one of the faultlines in the battle against austerity. 

Every trade unionist needs to get behind them.

Join the picket lines from 6am outside Frizlands Lane Depot, Rainham Road North, Dagenham, RM10 7HX. Send messages of solidarity gmb@gmbbarkingb10.org.uk

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