21st Jan, 2022

LATEST - Coventry City Council reject strike put forward by Unite members

COVENTRY City Council has rejected what it calls an ‘impractical working pattern’ put forward by a union on days of planned strike action in the run up to Christmas.

Bin lorry drivers working in waste services who are members of Unite announced 10 days of strike action last week.

The union has informed the council that on strike days, the drivers would work one hour and then strike the next. However, ahead of each hour they went on strike they would return to Whitley Depot and then carry out standard safety and Covid-19 checks on arrival and before leaving site for industrial action.

The council says it would mean the crews would hardly be on the road for the hour the drivers were working and would cause maximum disruption but would mean they were eligible to a half-day of pay.

The proposal has been rejected by Coventry City Council meaning there will be no service at all on strike days.

Bin collection staff – who were not balloted and are available to work on strike days – will be reassigned to other duties.

Andrew Walster, Director, Streetscene and Regulatory Services at Coventry City Council, said: “While we respect the democratic right of union members to take strike action, the proposals they had put forward were not acceptable.

“It would have resulted in an impractical working pattern that in reality would have seen hardly any bins emptied.

“The chaos it would have caused means that we have taken the decision to tell the drivers not to work at all during the days they intend to strike.

“The bin collectors – who are not on strike – will be allocated to other roles on those days and I’d like to thank them for the ongoing help and understanding.”

He said he would also like to thank Coventry residents for their patience and understanding and wanted to reassure them the authority would continue to do everything it could to make a lawful agreement with unions as quickly as possible.

Unite said its members were unhappy about pay rates and Christmas working arrangements.

It claimed its affected workers – refuse collection drivers – needed an HGV licence and claims, despite a current severe shortage of qualified employees, the salary of £22,000-per-year is too low.

But the council hit back and said although the bottom of grade 5 for a bin driver was £22,183, it did not take account of contracted overtime and most drivers received a salary between £24,871 and £31,104.

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