Residents of Welwyn Hatfield council are facing a summer of refuse collection strikes, Unite, the UK’s leading union, has warned.

All-out strike 

Over 60 workers employed by waste company Urbaser Limited, on the outsourced refuse collection and street cleansing service let by Welwyn and Hatfield council, will begin all out (continuous) strike action from Monday 19 June in a dispute over pay.

The dispute is a result of the workers rejecting Urbaser’s substandard pay offer of 6.8 per cent. This amounts to a substantial real terms pay cut when the true inflation rate, RPI, is currently standing at 11.4 per cent.

Astonishing behaviour

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is astonishing that Urbaser thinks it is anyway acceptable to pay frontline workers who keep the streets clean and tidy on such low wages. Welwyn Hatfield council should also be hanging its head in shame for allowing such low wages to be paid on its watch.

“Unite is totally focussed on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at Urbaser will receive the union’s total support.”

Very low pay

Unite believes that Urbaser is guilty of paying very low pay rates. Most of its loaders and street cleaning staff are only paid the national minimum wage rate of £10.42. The drivers, who are required to hold an HGV licence, are on £15 an hour, which is significantly below industry rates.

Extreme disruption

Unite regional officer Richard Gates said: “Strike action will inevitably cause extreme disruption throughout Welwyn, Hatfield and the surrounding areas but this dispute is directly a result of Urbaser’s refusal to make our members an offer that meets their expectations.

 “Welwyn Hatfield council can’t simply sit on its hands – it has a moral duty to ensure that these workers receive fair pay.”

ENDS 

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.