The failure of Coventry council to tackle low pay rates for its refuse collection drivers has resulted in an escalation in strike action.

Increased strikes

It has been announced today (Monday 17 January) that strikes will intensify from Monday 31 January, with workers taking ‘all-out’ strike action from  Monday to Friday each week. The strikes are scheduled to continue until Wednesday 23 March. An overtime ban is already in place.

The dispute involves 70 refuse collection drivers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union. The drivers began industrial action after Coventry council refused to raise pay rates for the drivers. All the drivers involved hold an HGV licence.

Council lack of action

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Coventry council has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute through negotiations, yet they have still failed to table any offer to resolve the industrial action. The council’s failure to negotiate has left Unite with no alternative but to escalate the strike action.

 “All our members are seeking is a fair days pay for a fair days work and for their skills and abilities to be recognised and rewarded.

 “Unite always defends the job, pay and conditions of its members and the Coventry bin drivers will receive the union’s full support until this dispute is resolved.”

No talks 

Unite is escalating the action as a direct result of the council still refusing to enter into meaningful talks and its failure to put forward a package to resolve the dispute over pay. The council’s reliance on inaccuracies and misinformation about pay rates of the affected workers, has also greatly increased tensions in the dispute.

The basic starting salary for the affected workers is jut £22,183 which is far below the average earnings of an HGV driver in the area. Unite has been seeking to resolve the issue around pay for over a year without success.

Unite prepared to talk 

Unite regional officer Simon O’Keeffe said: “The escalation of the strike action will inevitably cause disruption to the lives of Coventry residents.

 “This dispute is entirely of the council’s own making. Even at this stage further bin strikes can be avoided if the council was prepared to put a reasonable offer on the table.”


Notes to editors:

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

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.