The GMB and Unite trade unions have been mobilising their members in the waste sector in a series of disputes over pay that have led to strike action or the threat of strike action. The longest-running dispute, which began in January, is in Coventry in the West Midlands where the union is currently pursuing a tribunal case against the local authority over victimisation of a trade union activist. Workers in Northampton in the East Midlands employed by Veolia have voted for strike action on 27 April while a vote for action was backed by a 90% majority in Manchester, in a dispute with the Biffa waste company. In South East England a two-week strike, again involving Biffa, is set to go ahead in Wealden on 25 April while a strike at Adur and Worthing is on hold as negotiations resume. Strike action in North Somersetn the South West is also waiting the outcome of further talks while in Solihull in the West Midlands the threat of action secured new deal with a 5.26% pay increase and a minimum rate of £10 (€12) an hour. Finally, industrial action could follow in Cardiff in South Wales of a serious and persistent climate of bullying.
Waste sector hit by spate of disputes and action
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Industrial action by waste workers is continuing in a number of local authorities. Drivers in Coventry have just voted unanimously to continue their strike to secure pay levels comparable to the private sector and in line with other local authorities in the region. The strike against the Labour Party-controlled authority began at the end of January. Meanwhile waste workers employed by the Veolia multinational that provides services to Croydon Council in South East London are set to strike for three weeks from 16 June. As with the Coventry dispute, their union, Unite, is calling for pay rates
Strike action by waste workers employed by Eastbourne council in South East England has helped secure a new pay deal which includes a minimum rise this year of 11% and a guarantee that the hourly rate will reach a minimum of £13.50 (€16.20) per hour in April 2023 – a 19% rise in total. Strike action could be on the cards in nearby Adur and Worthing, where a consultative ballot revealed more than 90% in favour of action over pay. In Carmarthen in Wales action by lorry drivers has brough the local authority back to the negotiating table while waste workers in Coventry in Central England are
Waste workers employed by Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in England, have won a new deal that will protect the pay of workers who were threatened with the loss of thousands of pounds in pay.