Coventry council leadership 'showing nothing but disrespect' in bin dispute

Coventry bin lorry drivers to march on Council House as Unite reveals zero attendance from councillors in 25 hours of negotiations

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Coventry bin lorry drivers will march on the city’s Council House after Unite revealed that not one Coventry councillor has been in attendance during more than 25 hours of negotiations. The protest will take place from noon on Tuesday, February 22 at Council House, Early Street, Coventry CV1 5RR.

The negotiations, which hinge on the pay grade applied to the refuse HGV driver role, are crucial to bringing the strike to an end.

Despite their importance, not a single councillor has attended the meetings – held with council civil servants – even when all-out strike action was imminent.

Last week, Sharon Graham, the Unite general secretary – who has led the union to 49 victories in the first four months of being in office – vowed that the union’s full support would be given to the Coventry workforce.

Sharon Graham said, “By failing to attend a single minute of the key negotiations to resolve this dispute, Coventry council’s leadership is showing nothing but disrespect for this workforce and the people of this city.

“Unite is working day and night to get justice for this workforce but it appears that rolling up their sleeves to resolve an issue that is causing misery for residents and significant stress for more than 70 low paid employees is beneath the council’s senior elected leadership,” she added.

“The people of this city have every right to expect better from a council than a disgraceful campaign of disinformation about a key workforce, absence from negotiations and a bill for £2.9 million spent on prolonging this dispute. This is madness given that it would cost £250,000 to settle this matter with a fair pay deal.”

Unite regional officer Simon O’Keeffe noted, “Unite negotiators have been present at every meeting and are absolutely committed to finding a resolution that would bring this dispute to a close. However, the response of the council’s elected leadership – from spreading the lie that our members earn ridiculous amounts to not attending meetings in person – has been atrocious. It needs to improve immediately so these strikes can be brought to an end.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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