Rugby's blue and green bin collections to be suspended during two-week strike as council concentrates on black bin collections

Both blue and green bin collections in the Rugby borough will be suspended as council workers go on strike for two weeks starting tomorrow, April 26.

File image.
File image.

Many of Rugby’s refuse, recycling and street cleansing services workers will go on strike for two weeks starting tomorrow, April 26 and ending on May 10, their union has confirmed.

Last week the Unite union issued a public statement in which they said many of the council’s refuse, recycling and street cleansing services workers may go on strike over a pay disagreement with national origins.

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At the time, this was not certain, as the union and Rugby Borough Council remained in discussions.

But this morning, April 25, a spokesperson for Unite confirmed that the action will begin at one minute past midnight on April 26, lasting until May 10.

Following the confirmation that the action would go ahead, a Rugby council spokesperson said: “We intend to target our limited resources on refuse collections (black bins) during the industrial action.

“All garden waste (green bin) and recycling (blue lid bin) collections will be suspended during the industrial action.

“Please put out your black bin by 7.30am on the scheduled collection day.

"If we do not collect your black bin by 7pm on the scheduled collection day, please accept our apologies and put out your bin for collection by 7.30am on your next scheduled collection day.”

They added that, to dispose of household and garden waste, or for recycling, residents can still visit the Hunters Lane Recycling Centre – remembering to book an appointment first.

The recycling centre is operated by Warwickshire County Council – so it will not be affected by the industrial action.

Any further updates on the situation will be published at www.rugby.gov.uk/servicedisruption

The union has not ruled out further action if a deal has not been reached, the spokesperson added.

The strike comes because of a dispute over a 1.75 per cent pay rise for council workers (backdated to April 2021) which came as part of an agreement between hundreds of local authorities and unions through the national negotiating group National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services.

Unite contends that this increase is not enough, stating that some refuse workers from the Rugby council have had to resort to using foodbanks.

The union would now like a more substantial pay increase to be negotiated for Rugby council workers at a local level – though Rugby council said it would not be possible to do this under the framework of the NJC.

A spokesperson for Unite said the starting salary for a street cleaner in Rugby begins at £17,100 and reaches £19,200 after five years of increments.

They added that the loader’s annual wage begins at £19,200 reaching £21,300 after five years, while drivers earn £21,300 and their pay reaches £23,400 after five years.

Unite regional officer Zoe Mayou said: “It’s a total disgrace. Some of the workers have even needed to resort to using food banks. With the cost of living crisis set to get worse, the workers face an emergency. Rugby Borough Council needs to deliver a significant pay uplift for the workers.

Rugby council previously issued a statement responding to Unite’s points on pay – and you can read it here: bit.ly/3vJ8joK