It really does look like Thurrock Council are in the last chance saloon before refuse collection workers set dates for strike action: Bins and street cleaning strike looms as union gives ‘appalling’ council one last chance – 26.03.21. It’s been suggested that initially there will be two one day strikes, possibly in the second week of April.
This is what Unite had to say about why their members feel they have no option left but to take industrial action:
“Our members have voted in support of strike action. They have worked tirelessly, providing essential services during the pandemic. The council is behaving appallingly. Unless the council urgently engages constructively with the union to resolve this dispute we will be setting strike dates next week.”
For more background on the dispute, there’s this from Tribune:
How Thurrock Exposes Tory Hypocrisy on Key Workers – Willie Howard | Tribune | 22.03.21
In Thurrock, the local Tory council is attacking the terms and conditions of binmen and carers only months after they were celebrated as key workers – but instead of taking it lying down, they’re voting to strike.
This Friday saw the refuse workers of Tory-run Thurrock Council in Essex return a thumping strike ballot on a 75 percent turnout – quite an achievement these days, in the context of a pandemic preventing mass meetings and punitive anti-trade union laws.
The reason for this vote was the council’s plan to bring in a series of drastic contractual changes that would leave these workers between £1,000 and £4,000 per year worse off. Existing terms and conditions around bank holiday pay, overtime, and vehicle checks allowance are to be scrapped in a process the council calls ‘modernisation’, a corporate phrase deployed to mask the reality of a race to the bottom.
You can read the rest of this piece here.
For more information and updates about this and other disputes, we recommend that you go to the Facebook page for Justice For Refuse Workers & Cleansers.
For some background on what is fuelling this dispute and how refuse workers feel about the way they’re being treated by Thurrock Council, there’s this post we put up earlier on this year: Just so you know what a refuse worker has to go through… – January 11, 2021.
Needless to say that if the refuse and environmental services workers do take industrial action, they will have our 100% backing as they take on Thurrock Council. If you want to join us in showing solidarity with the workers, we have an A4 poster you can download, print off and put up.