BIN STRIKE LATEST - Coventry City Council to bring in private firm to collect refuse as Unite makes agency workers pay claim - The Coventry Observer

17th Aug, 2022

BIN STRIKE LATEST - Coventry City Council to bring in private firm to collect refuse as Unite makes agency workers pay claim

COVENTRY City Council is bringing in a private contractor to help collect waste over the coming weeks as strike action by bin lorry drivers continues.

The union Unite, which represents the drivers, recently confirmed strike action was set to escalate, with no collections at all during February and March.

The council said this would affect all residential and commercial operations and has already opened drop sites for residents to take their waste in an attempt to ease the situation.

But it added – with the escalation in action – a new plan had been drawn up to ensure residents suffer as little as possible.

The council will work with private contractor Tom White Waste throughout February and March to provide fortnightly household waste (green lidded bin) collections of waste from private households.

Once the service is up and running, some of the drop sites will be changed to accept only recyclable waste so residents can continue to recycle.

The fortnightly collections will use council vehicles which will be rented to Tom White Waste. Household waste will be collected Tuesday to Friday – following the usual schedule with Mondays dedicated to collections from flats and businesses.

People are urged to check when their bin is due to be collected at www.coventry.gov.uk/bindays

Those who had a scheduled collection last week will have their first collection (green lidded bin only) back on their usual day next week.

For those set to have a collection this week, their first collection (green lidded bin only), will be back on your usual day will be the week after next.

Drop-off points and changes to them

The 11 drop sites have proved popular with residents, with around 130,000 visits.

They are located at: War Memorial Park, Sowe Common, Hearsall Common, Wellington Street Car Park, the Musilm Resource Centre, Tom White Waste, Cheylesmore Car Park, Wyken Slough, Leicester Row, off Telfer Road and Willenhall Social Club.

The council reiterated its claim it was already one of the highest paying local authorities in the West Midlands for Class II HGV drivers, who drive the city’s bin lorries.

A spokesperson added: “It means the council is limited on what else it can offer, as it must be rightly mindful of the duty it has to all of its 4,500-strong workforce and the possibility of future equal pay claims from other trade unions.”

Visit coventry.gov.uk for more on organising a trip to the London Road tip.

 

Unite claims council is paying agency bin lorry drivers more per hour than its own drivers

THE union whose members are undertaking the strike action against Coventry City Council claims the authority is paying agency bin-lorry drivers more than the hourly rate they are refusing to pay the drivers involved in the dispute.

Unite asks the council leader and the chief executive: “Why not pay the rate for the job and end the strike rather than paying out even more taxpayers’ money which will not resolve the current stalemate?”

Unite claims a company wholly owned by Labour-controlled Coventry council is seeking to recruit temporary refuse drivers ‘in an attempt to undermine the ongoing Coventry bin strike’. The union has challenged this and demanded answers of the council and councillors.

Unite says AFE recruitment is seeking to recruit temporary ‘dustcart drivers’ in the Coventry area. Unite believes the practice could infringe current Labour relations laws.

It adds the workers are being recruited to work for Tom White Waste Ltd which is a separate waste company and not part of the current dispute. It claims Tom White waste is entirely owned by Coventry council.

Unite claims the agency workers being recruited for Tom White Waste are being offered between £18 and £20 per hour which is in excess of the pay rates currently received by the striking refuse bin collection drivers. It adds the current pay rate for the council’s bin lorry drivers is between £11.49 to £14.37 an hour and says its regrading claim would take bin lorry drivers’ pay to between £14 and £17 an hour.

Coventry City Council previously said over the last 12 months the lowest paid driver took home £28,148 which – at 37.5 hours-per-week would work out at £14.40-per hour.

The authority added the average pay bin lorry drivers received over the last 12 months was £34,143 – which would equate to £17.50 per hour.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Here we have a so-called Labour council prepared to pay agency drivers to drive its bin lorries on more money than the union is asking for in its regrading claim.

“This is a ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money. The council could get the strike resolved by paying for our regrading claim now and so get the bins emptied.

“Both the council leader and its chief executive need to understand that Unite’s first priority is always the job, pay and conditions of its members and we will be doing everything in our power to support and defend the workers in Coventry until this dispute is resolved.”

Strikes involving 70 refuse collection drivers began earlier this month in a dispute over low rates of pay. From Monday, January 31, the drivers will be moving to all out strike action. It is understood this is the date that the agency drivers will be expected to begin work.

Unite says it is going to warn the government’s Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, which is responsible for ensuring that the rules on agency workers are upheld, that Coventry council, Tom White Waste Ltd and AFE Recruitment appear to be ignoring the law.

Unite is also going to advise the company and the agencies that they could be engaging in illegal activity.

 

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