'Limited progress' on talks to avert Doncaster bin strikes

Union bosses say talks to avert the treat of a Doncaster bin strike have made 'limited progress'.

Friday, 1st September 2017, 1:53 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:35 pm
Talks aimed at averting a future bin strike have made 'limited progress'

Unite the Union called off a strike across the borough over planned changes to the refuse collection service proposed by operator Suez and Doncaster Council.

Action had originally been planned to start on August 23, with more action this week, until a pay rise was agreed for the bin men, and talks with the conciliation service ACAS are now ongoing.

A Unite spokesperson, said: “ACAS talks are ongoing there has been limited progress but it has been slow.”

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When it called last months strike off, Unite warned further industrial action was likely if an agreement was not reached over proposals to make over 100 of the 250 strong workforce redundant.

The workforce will receive a two per cent increase backdated to April 2017, a further 2.7 per cent increase from September 2017. Workers will see their pay further boosted with an additional 2.7 per cent increase earmarked for March 2018 brought forward and paid from September 2017.

The overall pay increase means that workers will be on average £1 an hour better off. It was further agreed that during the lifetime of the contract the workforce will receive an annual pay increase equal to RPIx.

The redundancies are linked to a new refuse and recycling contract tendered by Doncaster council, which is due to begin in April 2018. Unite says it wants to minimise job losses and says an absolute red line for the union is that Suez removes the threat to make workers compulsorily redundant.

The ACAS talks are detailed negotiations over the new Doncaster refuse contract which will include “different collection methodologies, frequencies and collection crews”.

Unite regional officer, Shane Sweeting, said when the previous strike dates were called off: "Until Suez withdraws the threat to make over 100 refuse workers compulsorily redundant the possibility of industrial action this autumn remains very much on the table.”

Suez has proposed changes to the collection system because of changes to the requirements from Doncaster Council, which led to the start of consultation intended to determine how the needs and commercial realities of the new contract could be balanced against the best interests of existing staff.