Bin strike looms in Calderdale over pay dispute

Bin workers set to strike in Calderdale
Bin workers set to strike in Calderdale

Bin collections and household recycling centres could be be hit in Calderdale as workers prepare to strike

Servcies could be affected by industrial action next week as members of UNISON, Britain’s largest trade union, are planning to walk out over a pay dispute with Suez – the company which runs the services on behalf of Calderdale Council.

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The workers involved in the dispute are unhappy that the company has yet to offer them a fair pay increase this year despite the French-based giant having made an operating profit of £607.3 million in the first six months of 2018.

The lowest paid bin loaders currently earn only £7.93 per hour – 10p above the minimum wage – but were they employed directly by the Council they would be earning at least the ‘real’ Living Wage rate of £8.75 per hour (due to be increased to the new rate of £9.00 next year).

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Ashley Harper, UNISON Regional Organiser, said: “It is extremely disappointing that Suez have so far failed to come up with a fair pay offer for workers. No one takes strike action lightly – particularly before Christmas – but this shows just how far our members have been pushed.

"Suez is a multi billion pound company making huge profits and it needs to put an end to the poverty wages it pays some of its workers and the fact that others are earning significantly below par for the job they do. Our members work in a hard job in all weathers and deserve much better than this.

"There is still time left to avoid this strike but Suez needs to come up with a fair pay offer quickly.”

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The current pay offer of 3% which Suez is asking workers to accept would see the wages of the lowest paid fail to reach the new minimum wage of £8.21 which will come into effect on 1 April 2019 and the HGV drivers would still be left over £1.50 per hour short of the rate paid to similar Suez workers elsewhere.

The strike action, planned for December 3 and 4, will be followed by an overtime ban for the rest of the week.

Should a resolution not be quickly achieved before next week then significant disruption is expected as 94.9% of those balloted voted in favour of the strike action.