Bristol workers turn pantomime drama into pay victory
- Friday 8 February 2019
Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, has negotiated an inflation beating pay increase for hundreds of workers at Bristol Waste, following a sustained organising campaign to overturn the company’s original pay offer which fell well below the rate of inflation.
The two year deal worth 6.2 per cent in total means a typical worker will receive an increase worth around £1,400, almost double the company’s original pay offer. Unite members have overwhelmingly voted to accept the pay offer. Unite is the largest union at Bristol Waste.
Despite the company making profits worth £5,600 per employee, it had refused to make a decent pay offer. A sustained campaign by union activists between August 2018 and January 2019 led to the company’s original offer of 3.5 per cent over two years increase to 6.2 per cent over two years.
In an attempt to sweeten its deal, Bristol Waste even purchased tickets for its staff to see Cinderella at the Bristol Hippodrome which only served to strengthen the resolve of the workforce to seek a fair pay increase.
Bristol Waste is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bristol council and employs around 600 people to undertake refuse collection, street cleaning and recycling in the city. The company is highly profitable, its turnover increased from £15 million in 2016 to £28 million in 2017, with its pre-tax profits rising from £2 million to £3 million during this time.
Assisted by Unite’s organising department the union representatives at Bristol Waste boosted Unite’s membership which in turn boosted the workers’ engagement which led to a series of overwhelming rejections of the company’s pay offer.
Unite regional officer Ken Fish said: “A sustained campaign by workers turned a pantomime drama into a pay victory. The organising campaign at Bristol Waste helped workers secure an inflation beating pay increase worth around £1,400, almost double the company’s original pay offer.
“The deal shows that when workers get organised they can win in the workplace.”
Unite representatives at Bristol Waste used the union’s Pay Claim Generator as part of their campaign by accessing the latest up-to-date information from Companies House, the Office for National Statistics and the union’s own database containing the details of tens of thousands of pay deals. The Pay Claim Generator revealed the company’s ability to pay and helped the union representatives at the negotiating table.
Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focussed on pay and conditions.
For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315
Notes to editors:
- Unison members at Bristol Waste are currently holding a ballot on the pay offer.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.