WITH the bin strike in Warrington set to enter a fourth round tomorrow, Tuesday, Warrington Borough Council is seeking a court injunction, at a cost of £50,000, in a bid to resolve the ongoing pay dispute.
In a letter to council members before the weekend, Chief Executive Prof Steven Broomhead wrote: “Having followed legal advice throughout the industrial dispute we have attempted to resolve the issue via appropriate negotiations and discussion including a corporate Joint Consultative Committee on 8 November 2023. Unfortunately and regrettably, Unite have not been responsive to our position that we are prepared to consider all local issues as long as they are dealt with through our agreed local negotiating processes. Our other Trade Unions, Unison and GMB have been cooperative and responsible throughout this dispute.
“We are now at the stage where the Council has now had to challenge the legal mandate for the continuation of the industrial action. I attach the letter from WBC and the response from Unite. The Unite response is somewhat bizarre and surreal. In essence, Unite are indicating that they are not willing to cease the industrial action as they believe they are still in dispute regarding pay despite the national pay settlement being agreed. They were a party to this agreement.
“Given these circumstances, we have no choice to seek an injunction at the High Court regarding the continuation of the industrial action. We are attempting to place the matter in the High Court ASAP for consideration, but it is likely to be 8/10 days time. Our legal costs will be in the order of £50k.
“We continue to request that Unite cease their industrial action and join us on local negotiations on their matters of concern. I would request that consider supporting us on this objective.
“Our residents and businesses deserve better than this. I am sure you will be concerned about the current impact of the dispute.
“We are now taking advice from Public Health and the Local Government Association to assist us in resolving the dispute.”
Last week Unite regional officer, Samantha Marshall said: “The council’s legal threats are a pointless and expensive waste of taxpayers’ money. The council’s action will only serve to drag out the ongoing strike for even longer.
“Unite’s door remains open for talks. This is the only way to end the strike. Warrington Borough Council should be negotiating with key workers instead of paying lawyers. We continue to call on the council to do the deal that’s needed to get the workers back on the job.”
She added:”Our members are still waiting on a written offer from WBC to move matters forward, as without a formal offer we are unable to ballot our members to either pause or end the strike action. It would be helpful for WBC to explain why they have taken the approach that they have and why they are unable to make a local decision to resolve this local issue by local means when other Councils across England and Wales have been able to.”
For the latest council updates on the bin strike CLICK HERE