North Norfolk bin collectors vote for strike over pay

Kier at work collecting rubbish in north Norfolk

Kier at work collecting rubbish in north Norfolk - Credit: Archant

Refuse collections across north Norfolk face disruption after a strike vote by some Kier workers.

GMB union members have voted unanimously to take action over a pay dispute.

Ivan Mercer, GMB regional organiser, said an all-out strike would begin on October 24.

It is not yet known how this may affect bin collections in the district where Kier has the contract for collecting rubbish on behalf of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

Mr Mercer said the north Norfolk members were demanding at least equal pay with their Kier colleagues in King's Lynn, who were paid 'substantially more.'

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A driver in King's Lynn earned £9.05 per hour and a loader £8.10 per hour, compared to £8.05 and £7.20 for exactly the same roles in north Norfolk, according to Mr Mercer who added that there were also industrial relations problems involved.

'Clearly the 100pc vote shows that they feel very strongly about this. They are fed up.

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'They work long hours for very low pay. If a round is not finished, because of a problem with a vehicle, or because people haven't put their bins out, they are expected to go back and do it after normal work time' he added.

Last Thursday's GMB meeting in Aylsham, at which the vote was taken, had been attended by 23 of the 33 north Norfolk GMB members, according to Mr Mercer.

Kier managing director Julian Tranter said they were disappointed that a small number of union members had voted for strike action, despite the recent conciliation meeting on October 6.

He added: 'I would like to emphasise that the dispute is in relation to a pay increase set by the National Joint Council (NJC), which was previously agreed with the GMB and other public sector bodies rather than pay scales which are negotiated locally.

'We have advised the GMB that rates of pay vary across all Kier contracts to reflect local pay agreements and local conditions. In addition we have offered higher increases as an alternative to the NJC offer if they wish to leave the NJC system to address local concerns, however the GMB union have showed no desire to move from this.

'We will continue to pursue a resolution with the GMB but would like to reassure local residents that this action impacts a small number of employees - 23 out of 106 - and we will do our utmost to ensure minimal impact on services.'

NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said while industrial relations were a matter for the contractor, the council would work closely with the contractor to minimise disruption to services.

'Our job is to ensure the service provided to our communities remains as unaffected as possible,' he added.

'We haven't yet had the programme of action and will endeavour to inform the public of any impact on the service as and when we understand what that impact will be.'

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