Bin Strikes: Council workers in Cardiff and Wrexham refuse to back down in row over pay

Council workers in Wrexham and Cardiff have been on strike since 4th of September

Waste collection in Cardiff and Wrexham is set to face further disruption as strike action is set to continue until the end of next month.

Unite members at both Cardiff and Wrexham Councils will strike from October 16 until November 26.

It follows a row over over nationally-negotiated pay awards , the strike action started on September 4 and have seen green mixed recycling bags piling up on some streets.

Cardiff Council has posted on Twitter and Facebook that food waste and black bin bag collections will remain unaffected throughout the new period of strike action unless the council announces otherwise in the coming weeks.

Collection of garden waste and hygiene waste has been affected by the strikes, however the council did say that hygiene waste which cannot be stored can be placed alongside black bin bags for fortnightly collection.

Unite members have previously overwhelmingly rejected the local authority employers’ pay offer of just £1,925, which the union says a real terms pay cut for workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "The council leaders and chief executives of both Cardiff and Wrexham need to come out of hiding.

"They are fully able to negotiate with us to negotiate with us to resolve this dispute and end poverty pay rates.

"What's stopping them? Surely seeking a resolution should be their top priority!

"Unite will continue to support our members 100 percent through this strike action."

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales regional secretary said: "Huw Thomas and Mark Pritchard are leaders of two of Wales' largest councils. They both employ chief executives who are earning salaries that are seven to nine times higher than what our members are earning.

"What are they doing to resolve this dispute and tackle endemic poverty pay within their workforces? The answer is nothing. They seem more interested in making life difficult for our our members on picket lines than seeking solutions to end the dispute.

"Our members are angry and united, this strike will continue until we get an improved pay deal."

Wrexham Council has asked Unite to call off the strikes announcing it is facing a £23 million financial pressure this year in part due to national pay rises not being funded by national governments.

In a statement, it urges the trade union to call off the further five weeks of strike action, calling for discussions to continue and for national pay negotiations to be concluded properly. It said: "The national pay offer this year is currently £1,925 which is approximately an 8-9 percent increase for those on lower pay grades.

The statement continues: "The Council has also improved the annual salary for trades staff in housing through the move from Red to Green book terms and conditions, which was a further additional £400k cost this year, and will also receive the benefit of the wider change in October.

With Wrexham Council outlining the impact any deal outside of normal negotiations would have on their budget saying: "This £23m plus £20m pressure totalling £43m at present would increase further, and will also mean the Council is negotiating outside of agreed social partnerships with all three trade unions.

"The only way the Council can address this gap is to cut services and lose jobs across all services in the Council, as otherwise it won’t be able to fund these pressures in any other way."

Unite met with Cardiff and Wrexham Councils on Thursday, 5 October in what the union called a "show of solidarity."

Further talks are planned next week.

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