Selby bin strike intensifies

Urbaser refuse workers will begin week-long strikes on black bin days from August as North Yorkshire council 'missing in action'

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Pay strikes by outsourced refuse workers in Selby, employed by waste company Urbaser on behalf of the North Yorkshire unitary authority, are to intensify from this week.

The dispute is a result of the workers rejecting an eight per cent pay offer plus a bonus because they are on some of the lowest rates in the country for their roles. Bin loaders and grounds workers are paid just £10.64 an hour and refuse lorry drivers, who require an HGV license, are paid just £12.51 an hour. The offer is a real terms pay cut as the real rate of inflation, RPI, stands at 10.7 per cent.

Strikes will intensify from individual days to four day strikes, impacting weeks when non-recyclable household waste is collected.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Urbaser’s Selby workers are struggling with being paid some of the lowest rates in the country for doing a difficult and unpleasant job. It is disgraceful that North Yorkshire council is allowing this on their watch and are missing in action while the disruption caused to Selby’s residents increases. Unite will be providing all the support our members need as they step up strike action for a fair pay rise.”

The workers will strike from 1 August to 4 August, 15 August to 18 August, 29 August to 1 September, 12 September to 15 September and 26 September to 29 September. Strike action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved.

In an attempt to undermine the strike and the union, Ubraser has implemented the rejected pay deal for workers not taking industrial action. It is also disregarding a collective grievance Unite members have submitted regarding this by holding one-to-one meetings with striking workers rather than honouring the agreed collective bargaining process.

Unite regional officer Richard Bedford added, “Ubrasers attempts to undermine the strike and the collective bargaining process will not work and are just exacerbating the dispute. The increased disruption to bin collections is entirely the fault of Ubraser and North Yorkshire council, which needs to pressure the firm into putting forward an acceptable offer.”

By Ryan Fletcher