By Isabel Ringrose
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Council pay strikes as workers revolt

They include Coventry, Cardiff Manchester, Hackney, Croydon and Northampton,
Issue 2801
Hundreds of Coventry council HGV2 bin workers behind  a banner reading "Labour councillors, stop union busting".

Coventry council HGV2 workers and their supporters at a rally (Pic: Unite West Midlands)

Coventry bin ­strikers are still out on all-out action over pay. They recently agreed to ­extend their action into the summer. Strikers are ­outraged at the Labour council’s scabbing operation. And they are furious at attacks on their union—including the ­suspension of rep Pete Randle.

The local elections on 5 May are a union focus. But there also needs to be extended action to break the current impasse. That means involving more council workers and more protests at the scab operation.

Workers at Cardiff City Council Waste Services have voted 98 percent in favour of strikes over bullying. Six weeks of all-out strikes were set to begin on Friday. 

Bin workers in Manchester are set to strike next month after employer Biffa offered a 1.75 percent pay rise while the RPI inflation rate nears 9 percent. Over 200 outsourced ­workers—drivers, loaders and environmental workers—plan to strike from 3-13 May. 

Further strikes are scheduled for 23 May until 3 June. Biffa wants to pay ­loaders and operatives just £10.14 an hour—64 pence above the national minimum wage.  Workers voted 94 percent for strikes on a 62 percent turnout. 

Biffa, which made pre-tax profits of £26 million last year, is a private company and doesn’t have to stick to public sector pay curbs. But its bosses say it is only prepared to pay the 1.75 ­percent increase that council workers were offered. The GMB union is also taking part in the strike.

Workers at Hackney council will strike over a 1.75 percent pay offer. The Unite union ­members begin strikes next Monday until Wednesday, and the ­following Tuesday to Thursday. Some 96 ­percent of the workers voted for action to demand a 10 ­percent pay rise.

A rally was also scheduled for Thursday this week at 1pm at Hackney town hall.

Croydon council grounds maintenance workers are also striking over a 1.75 percent pay offer. Some 20 workers will strike next Monday and Wednesday, and the ­following Tuesday and Thursday.

Refuse workers in Northampton have voted to strike over pay. The members of the GMB union are ­outsourced to Veolia.

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