Thursday, August 02, 2007

Salford Bin Workers' Victory

It seems that the Salford bin workers have won their dispute with the Council over casualisation. Below is the T&G/Unite press release. I'm always sceptical of union press releases, having seen many a shoddy deal sold as a victory and dressed up like a Christmas tree. But this one does look like a genuine victory. Great news.

The sad thing is that one of the main organisers, Mick Cashman (pictured), did not live to see the victory, as he died of a heart attack last month. I never met Mick (but do know several of his relatives), but many people I respect speak very highly of him. The union has dedicated the victory to Mick's memory.

Salford dispute ends in workers’ success

The terms of a new agreement reached between Salford City Council and the T&G section of Unite – the union were greeted with cheers today by union members, as they voted unanimously to accept the deal and therefore end the dispute with the council over the casualisation of jobs and the undermining of council pay and conditions.

The agreement was described by the union as “a commitment to 100% service delivery by a permanent workforce.” Following a review, the council will ensure that staffing levels for refuse collection and street cleansing are established on the basis of service need, and any additional staff will be recruited on permanent contracts. Permanent hiring of staff will start from Monday 6th August. Recycling services will transfer to direct council contracts by 1st November.

Mass meetings of union members this morning backed the agreement which had been recommended for acceptance by the dispute organising committee yesterday, following a long day of negotiations on Monday with the employer.

Neil Clarke, T&G section of Unite Regional Industrial Organiser, said:

“The outcome surpasses the expectations of our members at the outset of the dispute. It represents a magnificent victory won because of the unity of Unite members, and demonstrates what can be achieved by organised workers who campaign collectively within a strong union.”

The full details of the agreement are:

  • A review of refuse collection services and subsequently, of street cleansing. The outcome of the review will establish the required number of staff to meet the service need. Any additional staff over and above the current establishment will be recruited to permanent council contracts within three-month of the end of the reviews.

  • Recycling currently operated by agency workers will transfer to a service delivered by permanent staff employed directly by the local authority by 1st November 2007 at the latest.

  • Some workers will commence permanent employment on Monday in positions that have previously been filled with casual staff.

  • Pre-planned holiday cover and long-term sickness can be covered by temporary workers employed on terms and, replacing the current agency arrangement.

  • The development of fully-funded training opportunities for employees who currently are non-LGV drivers so that in-house driver cover will replace the reliance on agency workers.