Suez bin workers in South Gloucestershire have announced their strike action will now last until September.
Around 150 workers employed by the council’s contractor first took strike action from 12th June until 18th June in their row over pay. Strike action began again on Monday of this week and was scheduled to last until 9th July but it has now been extended to last every day until 3rd September.
The workers, who are members of the union Unite, began strike action after rejecting an eight per cent pay offer from the company. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 11.3 per cent, Unite says this is a significant real terms pay cut. The company’s South Gloucestershire bin loaders earn £11.53 per hour.
Unite says the decision to intensify industrial action was taken after both Suez and South Gloucestershire Council ignored repeated requests by Unite to engage in talks to resolve the dispute.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Despite Suez’s claims about generous pay offers, its workers are on very low wages even though the work they do is heavy, difficult and dirty. It is a highly profitable company making tens of millions and can afford to give its struggling staff a reasonable wage increase.
“Unite never backs down from defending our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and Suez’s South Gloucestershire workforce have their union’s full support as they fight for fair pay.”
Unite regional officer Ken Fish said: “Unite has repeatedly tried to initiate negotiations with Suez and South Gloucestershire Council to bring this dispute to an end. It is a dereliction of duty to the public on the part of both organisations that these requests for talks have been ignored.
“Our members don’t want to strike, but their determination to ensure a fair pay deal is rock solid. Industrial action will continue until Suez puts an acceptable offer to our members. It is time the council intervened and told the company to do so.”
With a limited workforce, Suez has been concentrating on collecting black bins but not green bins or recycling, including food waste.