A bitter pay dispute between Coventry bin lorry drivers and a city council has ended after months of deadlock.
Drivers have been who have been out on strike since 31 January see victory after, Unite the Union and Coventry City Council finalised an agreement.
In a statement, Unite said the strike ended with a pay rise for the drivers worth up to 12.9%.
The bin dispute which began in January has now ended with a pay rise for the drivers worth up to 12.9%, which is worth an estimated £3,600 per year in their pay packets.
The deal also includes Christmas bonuses worth some £4,000, and disciplinary charges against Unite Shop Steward Pete Randle dropped.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said:
“This win shows the new direction of Unite. We will defend our members pay and conditions, however long it takes. This continuous action has delivered real terms pay increases for our members.
This deal represents a fair and just pay award and all charges against our victimised rep have now been dropped.
It is quite frankly wrong that our members were forced to take this action against a Labour Council, but Unite will always back its members against any employer who refuses to negotiate. I am very proud of our reps and members today .’
Unite’s National Officer Onay Kasab said: “Unite members relied on the strength of collective action which has secured yet another win for workers. Congratulations to the Coventry HGV strikers!”
The strike that was originally planned for two months lasted six and could have ended in a week.
The labour-ran authority claims that the dispute has meant it has had to deal with a net cost pressure of more than £4m, through a mixture of paying for mitigation measures and a substantial loss in commercial waste income.
The Labour run council played it like a Tory
The council proactively undermined the strikers’ struggle for better pay – along with opening at least nine temporary bin drop-off sites across the city.
In order to make these sites accessible, the council has sunk thousands of pounds into making modifications and laying tarmac.
It wasn’t a case of making it convenient for residents it was a planned strategy to undermine the strike at any cost.
The sites were staffed by agency labour, working seven days a week, who are paid £14 an hour on weekdays, and £28 an hour on weekends. Meanwhile, the average hourly rate for the striking refuse drivers comes in just above £11 an hour.
Rubbing further salt into the wound, some Labour councillors claimed that they did not know that there had been adverts for new drivers for a wholly-owned council service, called Tom White Waste Ltd.
This service employs (non-unionised) workers on inferior wages, terms, and conditions. These recent adverts, however, were for drivers on temporary contracts of a few months, on rates of £18-26 per hour – far above the current wages of striking refuse workers.
If the council simply paid these wages to the strikers, they would be happy to return to work! But instead, we witnessed the council feigning ignorance, and trying to break the strike.
We can’t help thinking the counsel would have saved their residents a lot of inconveniences and themselves some money if they had come to an agreement earlier.