Rugby bin strikes to continue after union rejects council's offer to increase pay

Rugby’s bin strikes are to continue after the union representing many of the town’s refuse drivers, loaders and street cleaners refused the council’s increased pay offer.

File image.
File image.

The bin strikes began on April 26 after some of the town’s refuse drivers, loaders and street cleaners who are members of the Unite union voted in favour of action following a pay dispute with national origins.

Initially the union said the strike would last two weeks – but recently extended it until June 15.

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And yesterday, May 17, Rugby council thanked residents for their patience, while stating they had made a new pay offer to the staff.

The council’s offer comprised: “Additional payments for refuse drivers paid since December to be made permanent. Total pay available will rise to up to £30,940

"Agreement to Unite’s request for paid Community Time for refuse loaders, if crews work all of their contracted hours. Total pay available will rise to up to £24,587.

"An uplift in pay grade and additional payments for street cleaners and drivers, reflecting increased responsibilities since last review. Total pay available will rise to up to £24,587.“No change in the nationally agreed pay award.”

Unite today, May 18, branded the offer ‘unacceptable’, and a spokesperson said: “We have not yet reached an agreement on pay for the loaders.

"For this reason the council’s offer is completely unacceptable as it currently stands.

"The workers went into this dispute together and they are standing united.”

The union did not wish to go into more detail when this newspaper asked what the council could do to remedy the situation.

Responding to the news the offer had been rejected, Rugby council leader Seb Lowe said: "We are committed to reaching an amicable solution on this.

"Our doors have always been open and they remain open.

“We are a public body and absolutely every penny we have is earned by someone else.

"There is a cost of living crisis and it’s difficult times for everyone.

"I’m not willing to do things that are frivolous with money that other people have earned –and I think most people in Rugby will agree with that.”

A spokesperson for the council further explained their reasoning behind the latest pay offer.

They said: “After updating job profiles to reflect new responsibilities, analysis has confirmed that an increase in pay in the street cleaner and driver roles is justified.

"It has also showed that interim increases in refuse driver pay that had been agreed in December should be made permanent.

"Analysis of refuse loader roles confirmed that the existing grade, which attracts above average pay, is correct.

"Unite’s request for loaders to be given additional pay for acting as a banksman could not be supported because this is already paid within the job role.

"Unite’s subsequent request, that loaders should be paid for Community Time equivalent to 30 minutes work per day, can however be accommodated by increasing the contracted hours from 37 to 39.5 hours per week.

"In return the council is asking that the crews work all of their contracted hours, bringing an end to the practice of allowing staff to leave work as soon as bin collection rounds are completed and in turn for the resource to be directed to additional community time.”