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Bin workers battle across England over pay + PCS pay vote

They worked through the pandemic, now they won't take pay cuts
Issue 2796
Four bins worker sinn hi=-vios jackets with GMB union flags

Adur and Worthing bin workers picketing on Monday (Pic: Greatest Hits Radio Sussex)

Refuse workers employed by Adur and Worthing council on the south coast of England began two weeks of strikes on Monday. 

There was a very good turnout on the picket line on the first day. 

The workers are in the GMB union. Many transferred over from the recognised union, Unison, after years of inadequate pay rises, or no pay rises at all. 

One of the workers said, “It’s down to wages, as well as the job itself and how hard it is getting. It’s also how little respect we get from management and some of the public. During lockdown, we were god’s gift. Now we’re just a pain in the backside if we are blocking the road.”

The council says that it is offering enhancements in addition to the local government 1.7 percent national wage rise.

But GMB full time officer Gary Palmer has stated that unless there is a properly negotiated offer, a formal agreement, and a formal ending of the strike, then the strike will continue.

Steve Guy

  • Bin workers in Wiltshire continue a two-week strike they began last week.

The GMB union claims one bin worker was knocked to the ground by a scab bin lorry while he was on a picket line and two other members were also struck.

Union members are on strike over a pay deal with Hills Municipal Collections which runs the Wiltshire service.

The Tory-controlled council condemned the union’s picket line positions for endangering safety.

  • Outsourced refuse workers in Solihull are set for strikes on 28 March after 84 percent of workers voted to walk out. 

The members of the GMB union currently work for subcontractor Amey, which is now refusing to open negotiations. 

GMB organiser Dave Warwick said, “These refuse collectors know what they are worth. They’ve worked right through the pandemic, and now they want to be paid at least the industry average.”

  • Refuse workers in Northampton were set to start a vote on whether to strike from Wednesday of this week. 

Recycling and refuse collectors have been offered a 2.5 percent pay offer by outsourcer Veolia. 

The below-inflation offer is even more outrageous as Northampton council increased the money it give to Veolia by 5.5 percent. The ballot closes on 6 April. 

Last push in PCS voting

The PCS union says it’s close to the 50 percent turnout it is looking for in a national consultative ballot over pay, pensions and the cost of living crisis.

It adds to the union’s members, “But every vote is crucial and we need your help to achieve it.” The ballot closes next Monday, so there are only a few days left to vote. The union says, “Getting a 50 percent plus turnout will be a massive game-changer for all of our members and strengthen our negotiating position with the government.”

If the turnout is anything like the union believes, it is an impressive show of the potential to hold a formal strike ballot and move quickly to strikes.

A big pay battle now would be a focus for millions of workers who face a massive cost of living crisis.

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