Refuse workers agree strike action over £1,000 pay cut

Binmen protesting outside Barking Town Hall against pay cuts

Binmen protesting outside Barking Town Hall against pay cuts - Credit: Archant

Bin men and women have voted in favour of industrial action over council plans to cut their salary.

Budget cuts from Barking and Dagenham Council will mean refuse collectors lose £1,000 pay a year, according to their union.

The Post understands the 30-minute safety check workers are paid to carry out before each shift has been halved in length, leading to the wage drop.

A date has yet to be announced for strike action, but the council has expressed “sadness” as members of the GMB union prepare to down tools.

Keith Williams, senior organiser for the GMB in London, said there was 90 per cent turnout among members for the vote.

He complained of the £1,000 wage cut at a time when the council has recently hired two senior staff at a cost of £100,000.

“There’s clearly something wrong,” he said. “The council is cutting funding for services but increasing wage spending on new posts.” Mr Williams was also surprised the council had announced the proposed strike on Friday – several days before a GMB statement was issued – as the two parties were still in talks.

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The pay cuts are part of a council drive to save £53.5million over three years, which it blames on central government funding cuts.

The council has asked the bin men to reconsider the proposed strike, which it said would cause disruption for people.

A spokesman said: “We are saddened by the decision of a number of GMB members to take strike action over enhanced payments for drivers. Barking and Dagenham, like councils up and down the country, has had to make tough budget decisions and has to balance protecting jobs and services with considering the impact of our decisions on staff and residents.

“We consulted residents and staff and all councillors present at last week’s assembly meeting voted in favour of the budget proposals. We would ask them to reconsider their proposed action because of the disruption it will cause.”