Unite press release

For immediate release: Wednesday 4 May 2022

Coventry council’s shocking double standards emerge amid Coventry bin strike

It has just emerged that refuse vehicle drivers employed by Tom White Ltd, a subsidiary of Coventry council that is being used to try to break the bin strike, have been given a 12 per cent pay increase.

Meanwhile, Coventry council is still refusing the reasonable pay demands of striking workers in Coventry who earn a basic rate of just £22,183.

Unite members on strike are demanding to be paid the market rate, a demand that residents in Coventry support according to a recent poll. Refuse vehicle drivers in Birmingham earn up to £5,500 more than those in Coventry.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “These revelations clearly expose Coventry council’s agenda. They have already wasted millions on trying to break the strike. Now they are giving a 12 per cent pay rise to Tom White drivers while saying they can’t afford to pay the market rate to our members doing the same job. This just looks like game playing.

“The people of Coventry want an end to this dispute and they know the council can end it at any time. The message to Coventry Council is clear – stop playing games and start respecting your residents.  You need to get round the table, negotiate and settle the dispute.”

A new poll revealed that over two thirds of Coventry’s residents back the striking HGV drivers’ “reasonable” pay demands. 67 per cent say that the drivers’ call to be paid the market rate for their jobs, similar to that paid to the drivers in nearby Birmingham, is a reasonable one. The findings come in a survey conducted for Unite the union by leading pollsters Survation. A thumping nine in ten (92 per cent) of Coventry’s residents say that solving the strike by HGV drivers which is disrupting rubbish collection across the city should be a priority for the council. 

Tom White Waste Ltd is a subsidiary of Coventry City Council. In March 2020 the firm was sold to the council for £14.75million. Coventry City Council decision-makers are the ultimate decision-makers for Tom White Waste Ltd. Details of the pay increase emerged from a letter recently written to Coventry residents from Tom White Ltd signed by the Managing Director Julian Tranter.


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 

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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.