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Salford refuse workers threaten strike over agency workers

This article is over 16 years, 7 months old
Refuse workers in Salford are on the brink of strike action over the use of agency staff.
Issue 2050

Refuse workers in Salford are on the brink of strike action over the use of agency staff.

About 135 full-time refuse workers, recycling teams and road sweepers voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action.

The dispute stems from Salford council’s use of about 100 agency refuse workers.

The workers are demanding an end to a two-tier pay structure for agency and staff workers. The workers are forced to turn up at 5.30am to find out if they can have work for the day.

The agency workers are called to a depot to find out if they are needed to either drive bin wagons or pick up the bags. Drivers not selected are sent home with a “stand-by” payment.

T&G union spokesperson Mick Cashman said, “We believe that if someone does a day’s work in a refuse job they should get the same rate of pay whether an agency worker or staff.

“We have made no progress. The council has said they will create 30 more permanent jobs but we believe that if up to 100 agency workers are regularly used then more than 30 extra full-time jobs should be created.We have established that 52 of the agency workers have been working for 12 months and a number have worked for over four years.”

Labourers working for two agencies that supply refuse workers for the council earn £5.35 an hour compared to £7.92 for council staff.

Agency workers driving HGVs get £7 an hour compared to £8.49 for council workers.


Cleaners at Lambeth council in South London in the GMB union are holding a strike ballot.

Their employer OCS operates a two-tier workforce and employs cleaners on worse terms and conditions than those staff who transferred to them from Lambeth council.

Cleaners on OCS contracts in Lambeth town hall get the minimum wage.


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