Wirral bin workers vote for strikes but no walkouts during coronavirus crisis

Members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, employed by Biffa Waste Services on Wirral council’s refuse contract have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a dispute over pay. However, Unite confirms that no strike action will take place during the current coronavirus crisis.

The 180 plus Unite members delivered a 96 per cent in favour of strike action on an 80 per cent turnout.

The dispute is a result of Biffa refusing to meet the pay claim of Unite members for 2019. The company is also trying to move the workers from weekly to monthly pay, without meaningful consultation or agreement on safeguards, if mistakes in pay are made.

Prior to the strike ballot being held talks to resolve the dispute held at the conciliation service Acas, broke down without agreement.

The mandate for strike action would normally last for six months, however it can be extended with the agreement of the employer. Unite has requested this is done given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the dispute.

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “Our members have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action and Biffa must understand that strength of feeling and resolve this dispute.

 “It would not be appropriate to take strike action at the present time and Unite will not undertake any strike action until the coronavirus crisis has ended.

 “As an act of good faith Unite is requesting that Biffa extends the time period when industrial action can take place.

 “Unite urges Biffa not to waste the delay in calling strike action by engaging in meaningful negotiations to resolve this dispute.

 “Our members are continuing to work in very difficult conditions in order to keep rubbish off Wirral’s streets and Biffa needs to understand and appreciate that commitment.”

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

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