The GMB general and public services union has raised concerns about safety in the waste sector. The union says that official figures show that deaths among refuse workers rose from eight to 12 last year while staff faced 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every single day. The GMB points out that workers are facing these serious threats to their safety while having seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011.The average earnings of a refuse worker are just over £19,000 a year (EUR 21250), 7.4% lower in real terms than in 2011.
Union raises concerns over waste sector deaths
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The FP-CGIL public service union has raised serious concerns about the introduction of Amazon-style electronic bracelets for waste collection workers by a private company in Livorno. The bracelets communicate with waste containers to check they are empty. Union says that this degree of surveillance is excessive considering that there are already supervisors who monitor the work along with GPS systems in trucks. FP-CGIL says that employers should be concentrating more on dealing with the serious health and safety issues in the sector.
Some public service federations will be joining their private sector colleagues in a national demonstration on 5 October calling for an increase in salaries and the minimum wage. The unions note that private company profits are surging along with dividends to shareholders while workers are facing higher prices, not least for energy. In the public sector, workers are facing another year of a freeze on the index that determines salary levels with the government again having to adjust the lowest salary levels just to ensure that they don’t fall below the minimum wage.