19 September 2014

Refuse and recycling Industrial Action update

Several parts of the city have suffered delays to refuse and recycling collections in the last week due industrial action and a continuous work to rule by refuse and recycling charge hand drivers from Friday 12 September. 

Because of the ‘work to rule’ we have been unable to provide the required extra collections to catch up the missed work. If your refuse or recycling collection has been missed please put your containers out on your next scheduled collection day. We apologise for any delays caused by the industrial action.

Geoff Raw, Executive Director Environment, Development & Housing said, ‘’We met with GMB representatives today and we will continue our discussions next week to seek a resolution to the current dispute. “

During the industrial action there will be disruption to the refuse and recycling collections service. Please put your refuse and recycling containers out for collection on your normal scheduled collection day. Any missed refuse collections will now not be collected until your next scheduled day. We apologise for any delays.

The street cleansing team will be working as normal and the household recycling centres will be open as normal and you can also take recycling to any of the recycling points in the city.

Editors Notes

More information here

Following a ballot of refuse and recycling drivers, the GMB Trade Union gave formal notice of industrial action, with effect from Friday 12 September 2014.

This means that refuse and recycling staff are introducing a continuous ‘work to rule’ from Friday 12 September. There was also a one day strike on Monday 15 September.

Comparisons have been made with other areas of the council, most notably Street Cleansing Charge-Hands, who are also Scale 4, though who do not possess a Class II driving licence.  Management have offered to train the Street Cleansing Charge-Hands so that they are qualified to drive Class II vehicles, thus removing this perceived parity. This has been rejected by the Trade Unions.

A great emphasis has been placed on the possession of a Class II drivers licence by refuse / recycling drivers.  This has been considered as part of the job evaluation scheme and this has been well communicated to both the workforce and Trade Unions.

Comparisons have today been made by the Trade Union with staff employed at a Scale 5 within the Royal Pavilion.  Given this new information, management have formally requested that the Trade Union postpone the industrial action, so that this may be explored and further conversations take place without the threat of industrial action overshadowing these discussions.  This has been rejected by the Trade Unions.  Management have still provided the Trade Union with the assurance that this new information will be considered and that a formal response will be provided on Thursday 11 September 2014.

It should be mentioned that no equal pay claim has been received by the Trade Union should they believe parity with other similar job roles / groups of staff is not the case here.

The council also requested that the Trade Unions agree to taking up the conciliation services provided by ACAS. This has been rejected by the Trade Unions.

The council offered the opportunity to discuss additional duties that may be remunerated through standby / call out arrangements, should the business case stack up, such as a severe weather standby arrangement. This has been rejected by the Trade Unions.

The Trade Union believe that if drivers have full line-management responsibility for their loaders, this would be sufficient to justify a Scale 5 position. The critical points here however, is that this would not only create another tier of management at a time the council is reviewing its ‘spans’ of control, there is no business case to necessitate this change. Drivers to date have not shown any aptitude or ability to tackle poor performance or challenge values and behaviours that are not consistent with the council's own standards. Team Leaders currently undertake this duty and should quite rightly continue to do so. This would also reduce service flexibility by assigning one crew to a driver.