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Rhondda Cynon Taf refuse workers to vote on strike action

03 May 2022 2 minute read
Photo by harrypope is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter

More than 100,000 homes in Rhondda Cynon Taf could have bin collections disrupted if refuse workers vote in favour of strike action, a union has said.

GMB Union has confirmed that its members in the RCT Council waste and recycling department are going to ballot for industrial action.

If members vote in favour of it, the move could see 130 people strike in May, leaving around 108,000 homes without refuse collections.

The vote opens on Thursday, May 5, the same day that Wales votes in the local elections.

The ballot is expected to run for three weeks, closing on Thursday, May 26.

The union is calling for amendments to the job evaluation scheme as they said the current system leaves essential workers short-changed for their work.

‘Big wigs’

They said that during the pandemic, refuse workers alongside other essential service workers were put at risk while council “big wigs” worked from home.

GMB said that, over the last decade local government staff have seen their wages cut by around 25 percent.

Gareth Morgans, GMB regional organiser said: “It’s been two years since the pandemic, and still our members haven’t been compensated for their risk, nor the importance of their work recognised. They can’t wait forever.

“We saw during the pandemic that refuse workers were some the people who keep our country ticking over, and all in all they’ve seen on average their wages cut by a quarter over the last decade.”

A spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “The council has entered into discussions with the GMB and has indicated that the council’s regrading policy (a policy agreed with the trade unions to support the job evaluation process) should be used to consider the representations of refuse collection staff.

“The council is still awaiting key information from the GMB before it is able to commence this process. Once that process is completed, the council has indicated its willingness to hold further discussions.

“Remuneration of local government workers is agreed nationally, and this council has supported the representations of the WLGA and LGA, alongside trade unions, for the UK Government to recognise the important roles played by all local government workers in its.

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