Posted: 19.02.21 at 14:12 by The Editor
THURROCK’S waste collections could be hit by strike action as a dispute between the council and its workers over pay and conditions remains unresolved.
Workers who maintain highways and pavements and clean streets are also poised to withdraw their labour.
The dispute – over changes to the way the service will operate across the borough following a council review and a general change to staff working conditions in the environment department – has been festering for some months. In November Thurrock Nub News reported on the possibility of a ballot and strike – now it appears that is a reality.
In December Unite said its members would ’fiercely resist Thurrock Council’s plans to brutally cut the pay and conditions of workers who have been providing essential services during the pandemic.”
A statement went on to add: “The very workers who have been supporting residents, by providing key services, throughout the current health crisis, are furious that they are now the target of proposed cuts of between £2,000 - £3,500 a year for refuse workers, highway maintenance and street cleaners.
“Care workers employed by the council face cuts of up to £8,000 according to documents provided to the union by Thurrock Council. Meanwhile, the council has not proposed any cuts to the pay and conditions of senior management. Lyn Carpenter, the chief executive earns almost £200,000 a year
“At a meeting between Unite and the local authority on 21 October, the council presented plans to remove a number of allowances which make up the workers' yearly salary. The union will now step up its campaign at the council and rally support to oppose any attempt to cut the pay of key workers who have protected residents since the beginning of the pandemic.
Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: "There is absolutely no way Unite will accept any proposal to slash the pay of workers who have provided essential services to the residents of Thurrock throughout this pandemic.
"Over the coming weeks and months Unite will be stepping up its campaign to oppose these brutal pay cuts which will leave key workers struggling to make ends meet.
“Unsurprisingly, the council's plans do not include any proposals to cut the pay of the highest earners. The council's leadership have behaved appallingly since our union first legitimately exposed the authority's proposals. If the Chief Executive Lyn Carpenter continues to sanction this sort of behaviour it will only make matters worse."
It appears things may be about to get worse!