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31/10/2009 - Leeds Bin Strike

STRIKING BIN MEN in Leeds have just rejected a “final offer” from Leeds City Council by a massive 92 percent. This means that they will continue their indefinite strike action. 


But why are they on strike? The answer is simple – the council wants to slash wages and impose new working conditions. Some workers could loose between £5,000 - £6,000. 

 

The latest council offer reduced the amounts that workers would lose. However, it still contained cuts along with attacks on their conditions. 
 
One of the main reasons for the massive vote was because of the strings attached to the offer. These included shift changes such as compulsory weekend working and working bank holidays. The council also wanted an end to the ‘task and finish’ system, whereby bin men stop work once they’ve finished their job.
 
It’s thought that such changes would increase working hours, immediately cut the pay of some drivers by £1,000 and introduce unachievable bonuses for productivity rises. For instance, to meet productivity targets, every bin would have to be emptied in 70 seconds.
 

Some workers allege that the council have tried a policy of ‘divide and conquer’. Different groups of workers have been promised different things.
Commenting on the dispute, Solidarity Executive member David Kerr said:


Leeds City Council should get around the table with the bin men and sort this whole mess out. Instead of spending money on scab labour, they should improve the refuse services. If they don’t, the strike could run until Christmas and beyond”.