Residents of the Wirral on Merseyside are bracing themselves for bin strikes next month, as members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, employed by Biffa Waste Services, begin voting for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Pay claim

The dispute is a result of Biffa refusing to meet the pay claim of Unite members for last year, and also trying to move the workforce on to monthly pay, without meaningful consultation or agreement on safeguards being put in place to ensure that members are paid correctly when pay day arrives.

Negotiations to resolve the dispute, which involved the conciliation service Acas, have failed to find a resolution, however Unite remains committed to on-going discussions in the hope that a negotiated settlement can be reached, to avoid its members having to take strike action.

Ballot opening

The strike ballot will open tomorrow (Wednesday 11 March) and close on Wednesday 25 March. If workers vote in favour of strike action then strikes could begin next month, immediately after the Easter holidays.

Unite has around 180 workers employed as drivers, loaders and sweepers on the outsourced council contract.

Tensions have also increased after it was revealed in Biffa’s accounts that one of its directors is being paid £1 million a year.

No option 

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Biffa’s failure to meet the pay claim, and its high handed manner in trying to force through monthly pay, has left workers with no option but to ballot for strike action.

“If strikes go ahead it will cause considerable disruption and rubbish will quickly start to pile up on the streets of the Wirral.

“Biffa claims it can’t afford to meet the pay claim of our members, despite paying a director a telephone number salary. Wirral residents need to ask if Biffa has got its priorities right.

“Even at this late stage Biffa can still avoid a strike by making a reasonable pay offer and enter into proper negotiations on monthly pay.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Wirral residents facing piles of rubbish as bin workers prepare to strike

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.