The GMB and Unite trade unions have negotiated a major boost to pay for lorry drivers working in waste services for Plymouth City Council in the South West of England. The re-classification from unskilled to semi-skilled means that the workers will be moved up the pay scale resulting in pay increases of 12.6% for some. The two unions argue that this should have major implications across the sector and are trying to win improvements to pay and conditions for waste workers in other local authorities but are having to resort to industrial action to make progress. A 48-hour strike in Coventry in the West Midlands began on 5 January and further action was planned while a 24-hour strike on 31 December in Eastbourne in South East England was set to be followed by action on 7 and 10 January. Meanwhile, drivers in Carmarthenshire in Wales were out on strike on 5 January in response to the local authority’s failure to abide by an agreement negotiated last year.
Unions pushing for pay rises for drivers in waste sector
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Following their massively supported national strike on 8 November, union federations in the waste sector are taking another day of action on 13 December. The unions have been calling for the renewal of the sector agreement which expired 29 months ago and to ensure it covers the whole of the sector. Employers are, however, are looking to undermine collective bargaining and trade union rights. They haven’t made any offer to increase pay or to compensate workers for the period since the expiry of the last agreement. Unions are calling for investment in the sector and the sectors’ workers and will
The Fp-Cgil, Fit-Cisl, Uiltrasporti and Fiadel trade union federations report very high levels of support for the national strike action in the waste sector on 8 November. They estimate overall that 90% of workers joined the strike with 100% coverage in some areas. The trade unions are determined to retain and renew the sector agreement and to incorporate a range of improvements. They want to ensure the agreement covers the whole sector including recycling plants and they are calling for action on safety, training, job classification and to ensure real increases in pay and other benefits.
Four health unions are planning a day of strikes and protests on 8 April in their continuing campaign to ensure that the pay rises agreed in the “Ségur” package negotiated last year are extended to all workers in health and social care. The unions argue that there are still large numbers of public sector employees, around 300,000 in the private non-profit sector and some 250,000 home care workers who have not been guaranteed a EUR 183 pay increase. They are calling on the government to open negotiations immediately to address this issue and tackle the long-standing problem of declining working