Delays in the collection of dustbins are on the cards as workers at Dacorum borough council in Hertfordshire prepare to start a three month weekend overtime ban in a dispute about a reduction in redundancy payments.
The overtime ban at the council, which covers Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring, starts at 00.01 on Saturday 31 March and runs to the middle of June.
The workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, along with Unison, are protesting at the changes imposed last November which will see redundancy payments greatly reduced.
The council reduced its redundancy terms from 2.2 times the weekly wage for each completed year, down to 1.5 times of the weekly wage for each completed year.
The 40 Unite drivers and loaders will start their overtime ban at 00:01 on Saturday 31 March concluding at 23:59 on Sunday 1 April – and this will be repeated every weekend up to and including 16/17 June.
Unite regional officer Richard Gates said: “As I have said to the council on numerous times, redundancy pay is given to employees not so they can go on a luxury holiday, but so they can continue to put food on the table for their family until they can secure another job.
“Therefore, this reduction in redundancy pay, running into hundreds of pounds, is completely unacceptable to our members. We won’t tolerate this race to the bottom.
“We also have real concerns that this reduction in redundancy pay means that job losses are imminent, otherwise where is the saving for the employer? Alternatively, it is making the service look attractive for Carillion-style outsourcing – and we know where that led.
“Either way, Unite believes this will have a detrimental effect on the services provided by our members to local residents. The overtime ban by our 40 members will mean that dustbin and refuse collections will be disrupted.
“Normally, they would do overtime on a Saturday following a bank holiday to catch up on bins not emptied on that bank holiday. But the overtime ban will mean these bins will remain unemptied, and as we are entering a period with quite a few bank holidays, this will have an adverse snowball impact on collections.
“The trade unions have made it clear to the employer that the door is always open for discussions on this issue, something the council has repeatedly turned down.”
Unite members voted by 90 per cent for both strike action and industrial action short of a strike i.e. an overtime ban.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065.Email: email@example.com
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.