Bins industrial action is closer after ballot result

Recycling centres like this one in Westfield, Cumbernauld, could be hit by industrial action.
Recycling centres like this one in Westfield, Cumbernauld, could be hit by industrial action.

Disruption to bins and recycling services in North Lanarkshire is a step closer after workers backed a call for industrial action.

GMB Scotland said its consultative ballot result this week “sends out a clear message” that trade union members will “strongly resist the imposition of further cuts to their livelihoods”.

GMB Scotland members in North Lanarkshire Council’s regeneration and environmental services will now prepare for a formal ballot for industrial action.

However, the council responded angrily, saying the union was making “misleading and factualy inaccurate” statements about the outcome of a jobs re-evaluation exercise.

The GMB said 96 per cent of members on an 87 per cent turnout had supported proposals for an overtime ban and a work to rule in response to changes to pay grades, job descriptions and working time arrangements.

It claimed the proposed changes to terms and conditions affect around 120 workers who are among the lowest paid in the council and industrial action will have an impact on services including rubbish collection, recycling, street cleaning and waste control.

GMB Scotland organiser Ude Adigwe said: “This consultative ballot result sends out a clear message to the council that our members will strongly resist the imposition of further cuts to their livelihoods.

“Our members have been clinging on at the coal face of austerity while their wages, jobs and services have been stripped back to the bare bones, leaving them undervalued and overworked.

“This cannot continue unchallenged and unless the council is prepared to sit down and negotiate in the proper manner then it looks certain that we will be in a dispute affecting cleansing services across the council area within weeks.”

The council criticised the union’s handling of the matter. A spokesman said: “The GMB did not tell us of their consultative ballot, nor have they told us the result.

“The information provided by the GMB in their press release is misleading and factually inaccurate. For example, it suggests that some employees’ pay grades will be affected when this is not the case.

“However, we are always willing to discuss matters of mutual interest and we will be contacting the GMB for an explanation.”