Wirral bin strike ends

After discussions that continued throughout the Christmas holiday period, household waste collections will resume after talks between Biffa and its workforce convened by Labour Council leader, Janette Williamson, came to a satisfactory conclusion for the firm and staff.

As such, Biffa employees have resumed work this morning after securing a 15 per cent pay rise backdated to April 2022.

Class 2 HGV drivers will also see their hourly rates increase by £1.49 on top of the percentage pay increase.

From April 2023, the workers will see their pay increase again by between seven and nine per cent, depending on the RPI rate of inflation. 

Inevitably, due to the previous week of industrial action between 5 and 11 December, some prevailing winter weather conditions during December and the Christmas bank holidays, it will take more time for the crews to reach a point where kerbside waste collections will return fully to their regular schedule.

Additional crews will be working to collect green bins from all roads that were still outstanding even after last week’s ‘catch-up’ operation. Biffa has a list of those streets affected.

  • Residents whose green bin was not collected week commencing 12 December or week commencing 19 December put your bin out for collections and crews will aim to collect them 28-30 December. 
  • Normal, scheduled collections are now taking place, though they may be later than usual due to catch up. Please put your bin out for collection on your scheduled day and crews will empty them as soon as possible.

People can check their scheduled bin collection dates at wirral.gov.uk/binday

Street cleansing and alleyway cleansing is also resuming today, with priority being given to emptying litter bins and street cleansing in high-footfall areas.

The missed bins from last week will be prioritised by additional crews, with normal schedules being done from today by the rest of the crews. 

Street Cleansing will prioritise litter bin emptying and move to high footfall cleansing and leaf fall clearance. Catch-up work will be planned for next week.

Alleyway cleansing will return to normal schedules from today. 

Wirral Labour leader Cllr Janette Williamson said, “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to help bring about a resolution.

“For the Biffa and Unite dispute, I convened a meeting on Christmas Day, because I knew how important this issue is to everyone in our borough. I urged both sides in the strongest terms to resolve the matter, and I am very pleased we’ve managed to bring about a positive outcome that will mean our residents know their bins will be emptied over the Christmas and New Year period.

“This is in addition to the dispute relating to Veolia staff working at our recycling centres, which saw a successful meeting on Christmas Eve.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their constructive approach and willingness to meet through the festive period.”

Mick Whitley, MP for Birkenhead, said, “Following the intervention of council leader Janette Williamson, an agreement has now been reached between Unite members and Biffa. Future industrial action has been suspended.

“This is a positive outcome for workers, local residents, and our borough. Thanks to Janette for giving up her Christmas Day to help secure a deal.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is another win for Unite members; this pay increase was won by workers organising in a trade union and standing together for a better deal. 

“Unite the union is doing what it says on the trade union tin – we are delivering jobs, pay and conditions victories for our members. We are winning for workers in the worst cost of living crisis in decades.”

The workers took a number of days of strike action in December. All further scheduled strike action has now been cancelled. 

Unite regional officer John McColl said, “Following renewed negotiations, an improved offer was put forward from Biffa which our members voted to accept. The dispute has now ended and strike action has been cancelled.” 

Image: www.birkenhead2020.com

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