WHILE Christmas spirit arrived in Warrington at the weekend by the bucket load – the streets continue to pile high with uncollected refuse due to the ongoing bin strike.
A Christmas Weekend Wonderland in the town centre, a Christmas Fayre at the town hall and the opening of Santa’s Grotto at Walton Hall & Gardens, all helped show plenty of Christmas spirit, but the ongoing bin strike is creating unseasonal ill-will, with many of the public now starting to show their frustrations – with little Christmas spirit being shown to the striking refuse collectors by the majority of our readers.
While a national pay award has been agreed, giving each refuse collector an extra £1,950 a year in their pay packets, there is still a failure to agree on some local terms and conditions – even though it has been stated a verbal agreement was reached.
The Unite Union are accusing the Borough Council of “dither and delay” while the council is now seeking High Court action at a cost of £50k to the local taxpayer.
According to the Local Government Association: “Unite is also continuing to take industrial action in a small number of councils. Most of the strikes take place in individual service areas, such as waste, refuse, cleansing, housing repair etc. The National Employers are concerned that Unite’s action is undermining employee and industrial relations (at both national and local levels) and disregards the properly constituted national collective bargaining arrangements of which it has to date been an integral part. The National Employers hope Unite will call off its strikes and instead recognise that a national collective agreement has been reached, thereby concluding the 2023 pay round.”
More details can be found here https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/workforce-and-hr-support/local-government-services/local-government-pay-2023-24
It’s becoming abundantly clear the refuse workers are starting to lose public support, while the ongoing situation is not going to do anything to help our council’s finances, already circa £1.9b in debt.
We certainly don’t want another Birmingham situation where the council effectively went bust following GMB Union pay claims for discrimination.
One reader Amie Marie Newton even sent in the photos above, saying: “This is all the rubbish in St Elphin’s Close, all reported and nothing had been moved.
“We have squirrels, and sometimes rats. It just piles up and piles up. Most on here are old or don’t drive so can’t do tip runs either.”
It is just one of many reports circulating on social media being posted by frustrated residents concerned and worried by the mounting piles of rubbish around the town. Fly-tipping is also on the increase.
As we approach Christmas, with all the extra waste created by parcels and wrapping paper and additional bottles and cans, the whole situation is going to escalate – leaving a huge mountain of waste to clear when the dispute is finally resolved.
For any striking refuse workers or Unite Union members reading this – here are the thoughts of our readers posted on social media.
Bin men of yesteryear had to haul bins on their backs to empty them in to the bin lorry. Now they just have to wheel them and press a button. It’s getting beyond a joke now. We would all love more pay but we can’t all strike!
Might get one of my bins emptied on Christmas Eve 🤔 paid £90 up to now having bins emptied – £90 which could of gone on Christmas presents 😡😡
Local support has dwindled… this is shocking .. it’s the community that are suffering
John Barry Shepherd
I watched the report tonight on the local news from Warrington Town centre not one person interviewed gave there support for the strike this should tell them something but unfortunately it’s all down to the union now they don’t like backing down and losing face I’m afraid they have lost all credibility get this strike action called off
So three months without collections for most people. Everyone involved should hang their heads in shame.
But I very much doubt they care less about out what’s happening to people. Otherwise it would have been sorted by now.
No beers at Christmas or ice cold cans in the summer for this lot anymore 👎🏼
It’s so hard to understand what’s going on and that’s what so frustrating. Is it that the council are being unreasonable in negotiation or is it union?
If indeed the continuation of strike action is outside the original wage dispute which was resolved and agreed then it appears that Unite are using this locally as a means of prolonging their strike action. What we hear now is that there are local issues that must surely be outside the original national wages strike and should be the subject of completely separate discussions. Queues at recycling centres are ridiculous and are causing traffic problems. Couple that with certain types of household waste being turned away, wasted trips and fuel, not to mention the pollution from stationary vehicles and the whole situation has become a farce. Residents patience is running out and will result in fly-tipping household waste unless this is resolved quickly.
Christopher David Lee
Local, rather than national agreements can have unintended consequences. They can for example cause breaches of the equal pay regulations. Birmingham City Council gave their refuse workers bonuses but didn’t do the same for equally rated jobs with predominantly female employees. The council was taken to court and lost big time not only having to make up the pay difference for six years but also interest on the money. The council has now paid out getting on for £1billion and still owes some £500-600million. This has had a major role in the council effectively going bankrupt. A cautionary tale indeed.
Here at Warrington Worldwide we are not taking sides or apportioning blame – we are just seeking a commonsense resolution ASAP! People are getting, stressed, anxious, angry and upset.
There is enough doom and gloom going on around the country and the world, without us all slowly disappearing under a mountain of rubbish!
So come on Warrington Borough Council and Unite Union, bang your heads together and show some commonsense and some compromise to at least get the refuse collectors back out to work. Fine-tuning on negotiations can still carry on – and if not resolved more strike action can take place in the New Year.
Let’s see some true Christmas spirit!
As always the offer remains to sit down together in public and discuss the issues openly and honestly so everyone understands the reasons an agreement can not be reached.