Unite members working in Thurrock council’s waste collection service have agreed to end the current threat of strike action; but tensions remain in the service and the threat of strikes could be revisited if the council reneges on its promises, Unite warned today (April 16).
Following the decision to suspend the initial strike action (on April 6) Thurrock council has now made a series of concessions in writing. As a result Unite’s members have agreed to call off their remaining planned strikes.
The 72 hour strike beginning at just past midnight on Tuesday, May 1 and the 24 hour strikes due to begin on May 16, 23 and 30 have now been formally called off.
The council has confirmed that pictures from the new ‘big brother’ style cameras with live streaming to be fitted on Thurrock’s refuse vehicles can’t be viewed by managers at their desks and phones and will only be normally viewed by the council’s data protection officer. Any requests to view the footage will have to be in writing and that information will be shared with Unite.
The council also said that there will be no cuts to the rounds as it accepted that there are major problems with the service. It will create a working group which will include Unite members to balance the rounds to deliver a better service.
Problems surrounding payments for Saturday working have been resolved and the council said it will also take action to resolve issues of union discrimination and the lack of facility time.
“Having received the council’s written concessions, Unite members have agreed to call off the remaining strike dates,” said Unite regional officer Michelle Cook.
“However Thurrock council must understand that there are major tensions remaining in its refuse service and if it reneges on its agreement in any way we will re-ballot for strike action,” she added.
“Recent council communications that suggest this has all been a misunderstanding and ignores the major concessions that have been made, are extremely unhelpful, inaccurate and further erode workplace harmony.
“To ensure that there is no further threat of bin strikes it is imperative that the council’s written agreement is abided by and that every effort is made to restore confidence among the workforce.”