Statement regarding Unite's intention to ballot HGV drivers in waste services

Published Tuesday, 23 November 2021

The Council has released a statement following notification from Unite of their intention to ballot the HGV drivers in waste services who are members of the union. The statement can be read below.

We are disappointed to be informed by Unite of their intention to ballot the HGV drivers in waste services who are members of the union. This is a significant number and would mean we would be unable to deliver any kind of meaningful service to the residents of our city if the result was to strike.

We have been in dialogue with the union for a number of weeks in an attempt to resolve issues they have raised, and we remain keen to continue those talks while the ballot is carried out.

The timing of this has been deliberately chosen to cause the maximum disruption to residents as, if voted for, the strike would impact over the Christmas period and well into the New Year.

During our ongoing dialogue we have done everything we can to address the two areas they are balloting on – additional pay and Christmas working arrangements.

With regards to additional pay, we – like all local authorities – are bound by strict and nationally agreed processes in evaluating salaries for jobs. Using those processes, we have re-evaluated the driving job involving the union and the result has seen it remain on the same pay scale as it currently is.

To provide preferential treatment and override the established processes would not be fair to the other 4,500 people we employ as an organisation.

With regards to Christmas working, our residents have told us that they expect a service 52 weeks of the year and we believe that our bin lorry drivers are contracted to deliver that.  A large number of our services, and all essential services, continue over the Christmas period.

During our ongoing negotiations, we have offered proposals that include additional pay to all of our waste crews during the week between Christmas and New Year, we are waiting for a response on these from Unite and this is part of our on-going discussions.

We remain committed to on-going talks with Unite and will do all that we can to lawfully resolve these issues.

We urge Unite to suspend the ballot and continue talking to us so we and they can avoid strike action that will cause considerable and unnecessary disruption for residents.

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