UNITED KINGDOM / AGILITYPR.NEWS / February 13, 2020 / Residents living on the Wirral could be left with piles of uncollected rubbish as a result of a long running pay dispute with Biffa Waste Services which currently holds the council’s refuse contract.
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, which represents over 180 workers employed as drivers, loaders and sweepers on the Wirral council refuse contract have been in negotiations since 2019 over last year’s pay claim.
Unite is now actively preparing for a postal ballot of its members and if as expected workers vote for action then a strike is inevitable.
Negotiations have included the conciliation service Acas but no agreement has been reached.
As well as a failure to make a reasonable pay offer, Biffa management last November also announced that they intended to move workers from weekly pay to monthly pay, without consultation or safeguards.
The membership has no confidence in Biffa paying workers correctly, with serious mistakes in pay being made on a regular basis under the current payroll.
Unite proposed a safeguarding system that if pay was wrong by £50 or more it would be corrected within seven days, to avoid staff having to wait for a further month to receive unpaid wages, but Biffa dismissed this request.
Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Unite’s members are being forced to begin the process of taking strike action as Biffa has refused to meet the pay claim of our members, despite a Biffa director receiving £1m which is contained within their financial reports for 2019.
“If strike action does go ahead then inevitably bin collections will not be made and rubbish will be uncollected. With a similar impact on street cleaning and green waste collection services.
“The prospect of strike action is very real, however; it is incumbent on Biffa to enter into a meaningful consultation and negotiations regarding the proposed transfer to monthly pay and meet the pay claim of our members if strike action is to be avoided.”
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.