Richmond bin strike ends after one day

Richmond’s planned three-week bin strike has ended after one day following an improved offer from Serco, the council’s waste contractor.

GMB, the union for refuse workers, announced the beginning of the three-week bin strike on Monday.

However, at 11:30am on Monday, an improved offer from Serco was accepted by the union members.

Harry Oakley, Serco’s contract manager said: “We are delighted that following further negotiations our enhanced offer has been accepted and the industrial action has been called off.

“As a result of today’s action, household waste and recycling collections will now take place one day later than scheduled all week.”

The members were originally offered a pay rise which fell significantly below their expectations, causing 98% of union members to vote to take action as a result of the offer.

An offer was made at 5:30am which was rejected swiftly at 5:45am, 15 minutes before the members were due to start work.

95% of staff walked out at 6am and only two trucks went out rather than the usual 18 trucks.

Paul Grafton, GMB Regional Officer said: “The offers that were coming forward were poor to say the least and nowhere near in line with inflation.

“The pay rise the people have now whilst slightly above inflation, those members were effectively being underpaid in any event.”

Grafton said that Richmond council weren’t made aware of the strike by Serco, adding: “Richmond knew nothing about it. That’s not GMB’s problem, that’s Serco’s problem.”

The strike was discontinuous. The workers were to strike for three weeks,  prior to a week of work followed by another three-week strike.

Grafton said: “With inflation at 9 percent, it was vital for these key workers that they receive a pay rise above this, otherwise their pay would be going backwards.”

The members are returning to work today and kerbside collections will start immediately.

Featured image credit : Betty Longbottom(CC BY-SA 2.0)

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