Unite union members carrying out waste collection rounds for a private contractor in Wales and a local authority in east London, look set to strike in separate disputes over pay in coming days.
Isle of Anglesey county council in north Wales will hold talks with its contractor Biffa ahead of proposed strike action by workers after Easter, in a dispute over pay.
This comes as the union has also announced it is balloting over back-payments for refuse workers working on behalf of Newham council. Refuse collection crews in Angus have also begun strike action this week (see letsrecycle.com story).
Unite’s action in north Wales relates to pay rates for collection crews employed by Biffa, with the trade union seeking higher pay for loaders and drivers. Currently industrial action is scheduled to take place for seven days from April 22.
A spokesperson for Biffa said: “Biffa are continuing to hold talks with the trade union representatives and will do everything possible to try to avoid strike action. Talks are being held this week and we hope that we can agree a positive outcome.”
Unite Wales regional officer, Paddy McNaugh, said: “We have no other option left open to us except to take industrial action. Unfortunately the residents of the island will suffer by facing a mountain of uncollected refuse as strike action takes place over the Easter period.”
An Isle of Anglesey county council spokesperson, added: “We are naturally concerned about the impact of any proposed industrial action on our waste collections services and Anglesey residents. However, this is a matter for Biffa to resolve with its employees.”
In Newham, east London, the Unite union has announced that it is balloting for strike action, stating that refuse workers employed by the council could have lost out on income in the last decade in a dispute over grading.
The union said that 45 refuse workers will be balloted for strike action from 23 April over the council’s “failure to progress them through the grading structure”.
A spokesperson for Newham council commented: “We are aware of the proposed ballot by a small number of Unite members. We will seek to work with the union to find a solution to the matter. We value our staff and the trade unions they are members of. We are committed to working with Unite and its members to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We estimate that, depending on individual circumstances, refuse workers could have lost up to £21,000 in back pay – a considerable sum for this relatively lowly paid group of workers who are out in all weathers.”