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Binmen to strike over pay and attacks

PUBLISHED: 19:12 07 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 October 2010

Refuse collectors in West Norfolk are poised for strike action, failing an eleventh hour breakthrough over pay and attacks on binmen.

Refuse collectors in West Norfolk are poised for strike action, failing an eleventh hour breakthrough over pay and attacks on binmen.

An overwhelming majority of members of the GMB union - some 95pc - voted in favour of not emptying wheelie bins at thousands of homes across the borough following a breakdown in negotiations with their employer.

They rejected a 2.9pc pay offer and have given Cleanaway a notice of industrial action but hope the dispute can be resolved when talks resume on Friday.

The meeting will cover pay, verbal and physical assaults on staff and an improvement in the general working conditions in the contract.

The news follows the threat of strike action in neighbouring Breckland, where dustman and private company Serco have locked horns over job cuts.

Tonight, GMB organiser Glenn Holdom remained optimistic that West Norfolk could reach a compromise.

“I hope we'll have positive rather than negative news,” he said.

“We're having negotiations on improvements to the current pay offer, and there haven't been any great improvements in the conditions, either. It could still end with strike action, it all depends on the response of the employer and whether they get back to me.

“Very basically, we've had people taken off rounds when they cannot arrange childcare, attacks on the binmen - I could go on, and the problems are not being heard. Their patience has been exhausted.

“We have 54 members who cover the whole of the West Norfolk area, and if they do strike it would affect one collection day.

“The last thing we want to do is frustrate the residents and the people who are on our side.

“The GMB would like to thank Lynn residents and the general public at large for their support of our members in this long-running dispute.”

Cleanaway said: “We have offered to go to arbitration through ACAS and are happy to continue our discussions with the GMB.

“We regret that despite the fact that the GMB official and our shop stewards recommended that their members accept our offer, some staff have rejected their advice and turned this down.”

Binmen threatened a similar strike last year, but the action was called off after the GMB and employers reached a last minute compromise.

Speaking to the EDP in April, Mr Holdom said a householder's attack on a worker, which gave the binman a broken wrist, was “the straw that broke the camel's back”.


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