Coventry bin strikers to undergo paid refresher training before re-starting jobs

Returning bin lorry drivers will get wages as they complete a series of assessments and training before re-starting work in September

Coventry bin lorry drivers who went on strike will be paid for refresher training before returning to work.

More than 70 HGV drivers with the authority took part in seven months of industrial action which ended with a deal at the end of July.

The strikes cost Coventry City Council some £4.5 million due to lost income from commercial collections and hiring extra drivers to do the rounds.

Now returning drivers will get wages as they complete a series of assessments and training before re-starting work in September.

The council said: "Colleagues taking strike action have not driven for the city council for seven months.

"Before driving a 26-tonne HGV they need to undergo a medical assessment, driving assessment, bring their CPC qualifications up to date and complete their mandatory training. This will ensure that they are safe to drive for us.

"By offering this training we're ensuring that our colleagues have the opportunity to refresh these skills so their return to work is as smooth and safe as possible."

The council confirmed that "they will be paid during this time" and staff hope to have training completed by the end of August, with drivers likely to return in early September.

During this time, replacement drivers with Tom White Waste, which was sub-contracted in for the strikes, will continue to work for the authority.

But the news caused concern, with one councillor calling it a waste of money.

Deputy group leader of the Coventry Conservatives, Peter Male said: "I understand that returning bin lorry drivers will now receive a month's worth of training, before returning to work in September.

"This would appear to be an unnecessary waste of tax payers' money.

"The dispute has already cost Coventry council tax payers £4.5million. How much more will they need to pay before they start to receive a best-in-class refuse collection service?"

He said that the group has long called on the council to test the market so that residents get the best possible service.

"Coventry people just want their bins emptied. It is not a big ask!"