Strike threat hangs over West Norfolk bin collection service

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Bin collection workers in West Norfolk could go on strike unless a pay offer which union leaders have branded as “insulting” is increased.

Forty-five members of the GMB union who are employed by Kier Refuse Services, the company contracted to provide waste and recycling services for West Norfolk Council, have been balloted over possible industrial action.

The ballot is due to end today, Wednesday, August 27. A result is expected to be announced shortly afterwards.

The company has offered workers a 1.75 per cent pay increase over the next 15 months, while the union is demanding a four per cent rise over 12 months.

GMB regional officer Glenn Holdom said: “This insulting pay offer does not reflect the effort put in by the operatives to fulfil the conditions of the contract.

“The company’s response is not acceptable to our members and they view this as the straw that has broken the camel’s back.”

Mr Holdom said staff also had concerns over increased working hours, imbalances in collection rounds and the level of agency staff used since the contract transferred to Kier from the previous operator, Veolia, last year.

The union also claims that Kier has not responded to a 
request for talks over a possible increase in the rate of sick pay.

Mr Holdom added: “We remain committed to talk further with the company to avoid regrettable disruption to the service our members provide.

“But the company needs to improve the offer and address the other concerns of our members.”

A Kier spokesman said: “We are committed to continuing our discussions regarding the pay award with the aim of reaching an amicable conclusion for all parties and to avoid any disruption of service.”

A West Norfolk Council spokesman said the authority would not be commenting, as it understood negotiations were still continuing.