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Bin collectors vote for industrial action

06 Jan 2020
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Bin collectors in Sandwell have voted for industrial action after private outsourcing company Serco urged workers to ignore the company’s own safety rules.

The ballot saw members vote to take action short of strike – effectively working to rule.

GMB will meet with Serco on Wednesday to continue talks and will be setting dates for the action to start if an agreement is not reached.

Serco has removed two rounds from the Sandwell domestic waste contract and put the work onto existing crews - This is in on top of all the new build houses placed onto rounds over the last few years.

This has raised serious concerns about health and safety as workers are having to cut corners to try and get work finished.

But when GMB advised members to make sure they follow the company's safe working practices, Serco hauled workers into management meetings about their performance levels.

Initial talks with the company failed to reach a resolution, so GMB offered mediation through ACAS. Unfortunately, this has not yet led to an agreed way forward.

Darren James, GMB Branch Secretary, said:

“The ballot result shows the strength of feeling among our members – they don’t want to inconvenience the public but they are angry and they want Serco to know it

“Their safety and the safety of the public must come ahead of Serco’s bottom line.

“Hopefully the council and Serco take note before industrial action takes place.”

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