THIS TIME IN 2022- Unite refuse lorry drivers made 'all-out strike' announcement - The Coventry Observer

THIS TIME IN 2022- Unite refuse lorry drivers made 'all-out strike' announcement

Coventry Editorial 17th Jan, 2024   0

DURING the first half of 2022, Coventry’s HGV refuse lorry Unite Union drivers went on strike for six months in a dispute over pay.

The below article, posted two years ago today (January 17), saw them declare an ‘all-out strike’ claiming the council has failed to make an offer to meet the union’s pay rise demands.

A deal was struck for the strike to end in July, with Unite saying the drivers received a pay rise of up to 12.9 per cent, worth an estimated £3,600 per year.

From Monday, January 31, 2022, workers were on strike all week every week until March 23 with an overtime ban in place.

The dispute involved 70 refuse collection drivers who began industrial action in December 2021.

Unite said it escalated the action as a direct result of the council refusing to enter into meaningful talks and its failure to put forward a package to resolve the dispute over pay.

It added the starting salary for the affected workers was £22,183.

The city council appealed to Unite to make one driver exempt from the strike so there could be one crew available to pick up waste from care homes in the city – where some of the most vulnerable citizens lived – but it added the union rejected that request.

The council added ongoing negotiations since then had seen offers of a £3,500, tax-free offer to work the Christmas and New Year period and a £1,300 market supplement for drivers towards the bottom of their pay scale, backdated from April last year – both were rejected by the union.

Coventry City Council added it was already one of the highest paying local authorities in the West Midlands for Class II HGV drivers, who drove the city’s bin lorries.

It added it was limited in to what else it could offer as it needed to be rightly mindful of the duty it had to all of its 4,500-strong workforce and the possibility of future equal pay claims from other trade unions.

The city council previously said it ‘took exception to Unites claims’ adding: ‘not one driver earned as little as £22,183 a year – we pay them, we know’.

The authority said that over the 12 months before the strike the lowest-paid driver took home £28,148, with the highest earner receiving £52,163 and the average pay for a Coventry City Council bin lorry driver over the past 12 months was £34,143.

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