A survey of workers in energy, waste and water, carried out by services union ver.di, reveals widespread discontent, with many employees feeling they are insufficiently trained, overworked, health-impaired or have financial worries. Over 14,500 workers responded to the survey, highlighting a range of urgent needs that the union will aim to address. Staff shortages are creating a lot of pressure on workers and many complain about the failure of employers to offer professional training and development opportunities. With work intensity increasing there has been a dramatic rise in stress for many
Waste, Demographic change
The STAL municipal service union organised a two-day strike across the FCC Environment waste group on 15-16 August. The union says that the company is refusing to negotiate on pay, claiming that its financial situation prevents it from offering a pay increase to workers. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and the impact of inflation and wants to see a minimum monthly increase of €90, along with negotiations on better working conditions and health and safety and a consistent approach across the whole company.
Members of the STAL municipal services union took strike action on 1 August in protest at the failure of the Braval waste company to increase pay in the face of soaring inflation. The publicly-owned company provides waste services across a range of municipalities in northern Portugal. The union says that there has been no pay increase for two years and it is calling for a minimum increase of €90 for all workers. It also wants the company to abide by the collective agreement particularly in relation to career progression and wage development.
Drivers, refuse workers and street cleaners continue to take action around the country to secure pay rises as inflation eats further into purchasing power. The Unite, GMB and Unison trade unions are all involved in a dispute with Serco the private contractor used by Sandwell council near Birmingham. Workers have voted for strike action on 28 and 29 July and then on 4, 5 and 8 August. They have rejected an 8% pay offer and argue that the company can afford a higher increase having seen profits soar by 25%. Refuse workers employed by Newham council in east London are being balloted for strike
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
Fp Cgil and other unions in the waste and environmental sector have negotiated a three-year agreement covering the period 2022-24 which will bring together the previously separate public and private sectors and cover around 100,000 workers. Workers will see an average monthly pay increase of around €121 which the unions argue will keep wages in line with inflation. The unions particularly underline the importance of achieving a single agreement for the sector. The new agreement will also include increases in various allowances, benefits and productivity payments. There are provisions to
In a long-running and bitter dispute over pay in Coventry, the Unite trade union has just discovered that the local authority has agreed a 12% pay increase for the workers in the private company that is being used to try to break the strike. Meanwhile, Unite members at Rugby Borough Council began strike action on 26 April to get the local authority back to the negotiating table. In Croydon, South London, Unite members employed by Veolia are being balloted for industrial action following the rejection of a 2.5% pay offer. Members of Unite and the GMB, in Manchester called off their action when
EPSU’s Pan-European Conference on Public Utilities is back! Join us online on Tuesday, 10 May 2022 for the opening proceedings and a panel discussion on an issue that is only becoming more important: rising energy prices, and how unions can take action.
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
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
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 national minimum wage has increased from €9.60 an hour to €9.82 as of 1 January and there will be a further increase to €10.45 in July. Alongside this national rate there are several sector-specific minimum wage rates that provide for higher pay levels in sectors where collective bargaining coverage is relatively low. The waste sector minimum has been €10.45 since last October and this rate applies until September 2022. There are three rates in the care sector for care assistants, qualified staff and more specialist staff. These are currently €12.00, €12.50 and €15.00 respectively and will