What is the Rugby bin strike and how long will it last?

One striking worker said some colleagues were being forced to use food banks due to rising costs

If you're living in Rugby, there's a chance you might start to notice bin bags piling up outside of homes and businesses over the coming days.

And if you're in the town centre, you could see the people who usually keep the streets clean and collect your rubbish handing out leaflets.

That's because refuse collectors and street cleaners in Rugby are on strike until the tenth of May - unless a deal can be reached between Unite the Union and Rugby Borough Council

Why are bin collection workers on strike?

Unite, the Union which represents the striking workers, is demanding a pay increase for its members, as rising costs of living outstrip pay.

HGV drivers and loaders and street cleaners in Rugby are among the lowest paid compared to people similarly employed by nearby councils.

According to the Union, the starting salary for a street cleaner in Rugby is £17,100, climbing to just over £19,000 after five years.

The cost of everyday essentials, including food and fuel, has rocketed over the past year, with inflation reaching a 30-year high.

One man told ITV News Central that some of his colleagues were using food banks, despite being employed.

"The money we're being paid, some of them are going to food banks, some of them are on benefits as well.

"I just don't think it's fair in this day and age."

Unite's General Secretary, Sharon Graham, said in a statement that the council should "hang its head in shame".

Ms Graham said: "Instead of recognising that a pay increase is an absolute necessity as living costs spiral upwards, the council has dragged its feet for over a year. 

"These workers are now struggling to put food on the table and pay the bills."

How long will the strike last?

The strike began today and will last until Tuesday May 10, 2022.

It means that those street cleaners and HGV drivers who usually pick up rubbish will not work, unless a deal can be agreed between their Union and their employer, the council.

Does this mean my bins won't be emptied?

Not necessarily. When street cleaners went on strike in Coventry the council employed private contractors to help manage the situation.

What is the Coventry bin strike all about and why is Unite threatening to pull its Labour funding?

However, for now, the council says it will only collect black bins - those containing refuse.

Bins holding garden waste and recycling will not be collected for the duration of industrial action, the council has said.

How has Rugby Borough Council responded?

The council says it "cannot negotiate pay awards at a local level."

A spokesperson for the council also said that it completed a review of pay in February "of our refuse loader and street cleansing roles, comparing the council’s pay with the pay offered for similar roles by 19 other employers." “The council’s pay for both roles was found to be above the average pay offered by the other companies and, in many cases, even higher paid."

The council also said that it was working with Unite and was conducting a further evaluation of pay, which will conclude in May.