Bin collection workers in Wirral have announced more strikes over Christmas and into New Year, despite a temporary return to work this week.
Over 200 Unite the Union members employed by Biffa walked out for five days in a dispute over pay earlier this month.
The waste services company is contracted by Wirral Council to provide household bin collections, school bin collections, public litter bin collections and street cleaning.
Unite members, who returned to work on December 12, will strike again from Wednesday, December 28, to Saturday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 3, to Saturday, January 7.
Unite are demanding a 15% pay increase for Biffa staff as inflation soars to 14.2% amid a nationwide cost of living crisis. The union says Biffa workers’ ‘low pay’ needs a ‘reset’, with HGV drivers currently on £11.95 an hour, refuse operatives £11.50 and street operatives £10.76.
Unites General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Biffa is a highly wealthy company and can fully afford to offer its workers a decent pay rise. It is greed not need which is preventing it from doing so.”
A Biffa spokesperson said: “A pay offer that is well above inflation has been rejected by Unite. If further strike action goes ahead, we will work closely with the council to minimise any disruption to services.”
Wirral Council said: “Officers are in regular dialogue with Biffa management in an effort to speed up a possible resolution to this industrial action.”
Merseyside tip chaos over Christmas
Meanwhile, Unite members employed by Veolia on their contract with Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) are planning a seperate strike in their battle for a better pay offer.
The planned walk outs mean 16 Household Waste Recycling Centres across Merseyside will be closed from December 28 to January 7 and again on January 15 - 21 January.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The spirit of Scrooge is alive and kicking this Christmas. Veolia is an incredibly wealthy company. Its workers are already poorly paid but somehow it thinks it is acceptable to offer them just a few pence extra, during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.”
The union say they want an increase of 50p per hour for the majority of the staff.
Veolia said: “We recognise the hard work of our teams in Merseyside and Halton ... and this is reflected in our improved package for 2022/2023, covering both pay and conditions. We remain committed to engage in constructive discussions with Unite the Union and its members to find a resolution for our staff and avoid disruption to services.”
Merseyside Household Recycling Centres affected by strike:
- Bidston recycling centre
- Clatterbridge recycling centre
- Formby recycling Centre
- Huyton recycling centre
- Johnson’s Lane recycling centre
- Kirkby recycling centre
- Newton Le Willow recycling centre
- Old swan recycling centre
- Otterspool recycling centre
- Picow Farm recycling centre
- Rainhill recycling centre
- Ravenhead recycling centre
- South Sefton recycling centre
- Sefton meadows recycling centre
- Southport recycling centre
- West Kirby recycling centre