Felixstowe: Bin strike called off

By Siobhan Middleton (local democracy reporter)

17th Nov 2022 | Local News

Rubbish will be collected
Rubbish will be collected

Bin collection strike called off

SUMMARY

A bin collection strike planned for East Suffolk next week has been called off.

The planned strike by refuse workers over pay was suspended yesterday and they will now be balloted on a new offer.

The industrial action was called for by 96% of workers at East Suffolk Norse, which is jointly owned by East Suffolk Council and Norse Commercial Services.

Unison, the union representing the staff, had said workers would be struggling as pay was too low.

A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said: "After a further round of negotiations, facilitated by ACAS, we are very pleased that industrial action has been suspended and that staff will now be balloted on the proposals presented to them.

"From our perspective, we were always determined to agree a solution that works for all parties and in difficult financial circumstances.

"We are hopeful that this offer will be accepted."

A post on the council's website explains collections may still be disrupted but customers are asked to leave their bins out as normal.

The company previously offered a £1,925 pay rise and an additional 75p an hour, but this was not deemed enough of an uplift on original pay of £9.90 an hour for loaders.

Workers were asking for £12 an hour minimum wage. The union pointed to the fact that Norse employees in Hampshire were already earning this.

In September, Cllr David Beavan's motion for a minimum wage higher than the one set nationally for East Suffolk Council employees, including those at Norse, was voted down.

The Liberal Democrat councillor proposed paying for this by restricting top salaries to less than four to five times median earnings – which would mean less than £100,000 or £125,000.

A post on the council's website explains collections may still be disrupted but customers are asked to leave their bins out as normal.

The company previously offered a £1,925 pay rise and an additional 75p an hour, but this was not deemed enough of an uplift on original pay of £9.90 an hour for loaders.

Workers were asking for £12 an hour minimum wage. The union pointed to the fact that Norse employees in Hampshire were already earning this.

In September, Cllr David Beavan's motion for a minimum wage higher than the one set nationally for East Suffolk Council employees, including those at Norse, was voted down.

The Liberal Democrat councillor proposed paying for this by restricting top salaries to less than four to five times median earnings – which would mean less than £100,000 or £125,000.

In response to the called off strike, Cllr Beavan said: "I am really pleased that the council have come back to the negotiating table and hope that they will agree to the £12 an hour minimum wage for all council employees that I called for at the last council meeting.

"Our employees work hard and deserve a living wage. Introducing proper sick pay instead of the paltry £100 a week statutory pay is also important.

"Why should East Suffolk workers get less than Norse employees in other councils?"

Earlier this month, the East Suffolk Council appointed a new chief executive on a £200,000 salary.

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