Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2789

Coventry bin workers go ‘all-out’ while Eastbourne refuse strike wins better deal

Coventry bin workers have escalated their strikes for pay against the Labour-run council
Issue 2789
Coventry bin workers on the picket line with Zarah Sultana MP

Labour MP Zarah Sultana joins Coventry bin workers on the picket line (Picture: Richard Milner)

Bin workers in Coventry have significantly escalated their strikes for higher pay. 

The 70 Unite union members plan to strike from Monday to Friday of each week. This programme of industrial action is set to begin next Monday and continue until 23 March. An overtime ban is already in place. 

The picket line is still solid, despite the freezing weather. The constant tooting of horns is a sign of the support that the strikers have from passers-by on the busy London Road. This week strikes were set to take place on Wednesday and Friday. 

Solidarity continues to pour in, including a donation of £4,500 from a local Unite branch in the city. The strikers are determined to win higher pay.

Labour-run Coventry council previously claimed that the strikers earn over £50,000—in reality, their basic starting salary is just £22,183. 

Meanwhile, Bin workers in Wiltshire will ballot for strikes after Hills Waste Solutions in Trowbridge, Salisbury and Calne offered them a tiny 2 percent pay increase. This would amount to a pay cut. 

Tory-run Wiltshire council has refused to intervene, saying the dispute is between the outsourcer Hill Waste and the GMB union. 

The ballot will opened on 21 January and will close on 4 February.


Strikers in Eastbourne secure better pay deal

Refuse lorry drivers in Eastbourne, Sussex, ended their strikes last week after an improved pay offer from the council

The GMB union members accepted it by majority vote in a show of hands. A sizable minority of the striking drivers voted to reject the offer. 

The offer is a staged pay increase worth around 11 percent this year. And it guarantees a minimum hourly rate of £13.50 by April next year. The offer came on the sixth day of solid strikes by the drivers. 

Attempts by managers to take out the refuse lorries had been successfully blocked by well-attended pickets on successive strike days. 

Describing the picket lines as “illegal”, the Liberal Democrat-run council had adopted tough anti-union rhetoric. But it folded when faced with unwavering strikes, which had support from the local community.

Loaders were in the process of balloting to join the strikes. They have stood down their action after also receiving an improved pay offer.

The strike also won promised improvements in the facilities provided for the workers.

Keith Crane

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