The strike was due to start this week, with approximately 70 GMB members from Urbaser facilities in Letchworth and Buntingford poised to take part in industrial action until an agreement was reached.
The GMB Union had previously warned that the strike action could see workers down tools over Christmas (see letsrecycle.com story).
The union claimed 90% of its members who voted were in favour of strike action, though Urbaser explained that 30% of the current workforce are members of the Trade Union. Out of these, 65% participated in the voting. The company went on to clarify that it equated to approximately 25% of the entire workforce showing support for industrial action.
Following negotiations between the company and the union however, the revised pay deal put forth by the company has received a majority acceptance by the workers in a recent ballot, thereby preventing the scheduled strike.
Tim Guile, regional manager at Urbaser Ltd said: “We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement, averting the industrial action scheduled for Wednesday. We believe the agreement is a great result for all parties involved. It reflects Urbaser’s dedication to our employees’ well-being and our commitment to providing high-quality services to the North and East Hertfordshire communities.”
Mr Guile added: “We extend our thanks to the GMB Union representatives and our employees for their cooperation and understanding throughout this process.”
Urbaser Ltd commenced its joint contract with North Herts Council and East Herts district council in May 2018, overseeing waste collection and street cleansing services. In ensuring the continuity of services in Hertfordshire for the remaining contract term, a two-year agreement has been negotiated with the GMB Union.
Local GMB representative Michael Dooley said: “The pay increase was welcomed by many of our members, but it was disappointing that Urbaser did not include any sick pay as part of the deal. I cannot blame Urbaser entirely, their motive is to make profit, the problem we have is that 50% of Urbaser staff are non-union, some who were likely to cross the picket line, this left us in a weaker bargaining position. The “I am alright Jack” and loyalty to rich shareholder rather than to workmates and neighbours by half the Urbaser workers left us in a difficult position. However, we intend to press Urbaser for a company sick pay scheme in April next year.”