West Norfolk’s bin collection workers have voted to take strike action in their ongoing pay dispute and could stage their first walkout as early as next week.
Union officials announced yesterday, Wednesday, August 27, that 91 per cent of GMB members who took part in the ballot had voted to take industrial action, on an 81 per cent turnout.
Employers Kier Refuse Services have said they understand less than half of the staff backed the walkout.
But strike dates have been provisionally set for next Thursday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 10.
Forty-five union members employed by Kier, the company contracted to provide waste and recycling services to West Norfolk Council, were balloted for action in protest at the employers’ offer of a 1.75 per cent pay rise.
The union has called for a four per cent increase and regional organiser Glenn Holdom said of the vote: “That shows the amount of ill-feeling and tension at the moment.”
He warned that further strike days would be arranged if necessary, but said he expected that further talks would take place over the coming days.
He added: “When we have to move to that position (a strike) it means everyone has failed.”
A Kier spokesman said the company was “fully committed” to holding further talks with the union.
She said: “We have a full contingency plan and, if the GMB choose not to continue with negotiations and formally notify us of industrial action, this plan will be put in place to ensure ongoing service delivery to the communities we serve.”
A West Norfolk Council spokesman said today: “In the event of a strike, we will be working with Kier to minimise any disruption for residents.”