Planned refuse strikes in Doncaster due to begin tomorrow (August 24) have been called off after a last minute pay offer was agreed.
However Unite has warned that further industrial action is likely if an agreement is not reached with the private contractor Suez over proposals to make over 100 of the 250 strong workforce redundant.
The workforce will receive a two per cent increase backdated to April 2017, and a further 2.7 per cent increase from September 2017. Workers will see their pay further boosted with an additional 2.7 per cent increase earmarked for March 2018 brought forward and paid from September 2017.
The overall pay increase means that workers will be on average £1 an hour better off. It was further agreed that during the lifetime of the contract the workforce will receive an annual pay increase equal to RPIx.
The redundancies are linked to a new refuse and recycling contract tendered by Doncaster council, which is due to begin in April 2018. Unite is determined to minimise job losses and an absolute red line for the union is that Suez removes the threat to make workers compulsorily redundant.
It has been agreed that talks will begin at Acas on Friday (August 25) to allow for detailed negotiations to take place to discuss the new Doncaster refuse contract which will include “different collection methodologies, frequencies and collection crews”.
Unite regional officer Shane Sweeting, said, “This deal has dramatically improved the wages of our members and means many of them are being paid above poverty pay rates for the first time.
“Residents of Doncaster will be relieved that their refuse collection will not be seriously disrupted by strike action this week.
“However until Suez withdraws the threat to make over 100 refuse workers compulsorily redundant the possibility of industrial action this autumn remains very much on the table.”
Unite acting national officer for local authorities Jim Kennedy said, “This has been a difficult and complicated dispute; our members have been resolute in winning pay justice.
“It is important to recognise and thank the support that Unite has received from local politicians and community leaders in reaching a deal on pay and brokering talks on the future of the contract. This has assisted in the planned strikes being called off.”