BIN collection strikes in Rugby could continue for another five weeks, after the union organising them extended the initial two-week period of industrial action.
Rugby Borough Council said it had been informed by Unite that industrial action affecting rubbish, recycling and street cleaning services may continue until June 15 – having originally been scheduled to end tomorrow (May 10).
Around 70 Unite members are striking to demand a pay increase, as food and energy costs continue to spiral.
The strike is in protest over a 1.75 per cent pay rise for local government workers, which was negotiated nationally by the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services and agreed by the Unison and GMB trade unions.
An RBC spokesperson said: “We apologise to our residents for the inconvenience this will cause them. We remain committed to constructive dialogue with the union and hope that the dispute, which is about the nationally agreed pay rise, will be resolved soon.”
The council said it would try to reduce the impact on residents by prioritising black bin collections – prioritising those which were previously missed – and suspending blue-lid recycling and green garden waste collections.
RBC said it would collect ‘reasonable side waste’ from households whose last collection was missed.
The spokesman added: “We will try to empty street litter and dog poo bins this week. It will help our teams if residents could take litter and dog waste home when bins are full.
“We are grateful to the crews who have chosen to continue working and to redeployed staff who are doing an excellent job in difficult circumstances. We know that they are appreciating the support of residents as they complete unfamiliar rounds.”
Unite says the RBC workers are some of the lowest paid compared to neighbouring councils and local transport and warehouse workers – with loaders’ annual wage beginning at £19,200 and rising to £21,300 after five years.
But an RBC spokesman said a benchmarking review in February showed its wages for refuse loaders and street cleaners were ‘above the median pay’ offered for similar roles by 19 other councils and private sector companies.
Garden waste and recycling can be taken to Hunters Lane Recycling Centre, operated by Warwickshire County Council. An appointment must be booked. Visit https://tinyurl.com/yct57k5s for more information or to book an appointment.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/serviceupdates for updates on service disruption from Rugby Borough Council.