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MISREPRESENTED: GMB accuses council leader of “sabotaging” strike

MISREPRESENTED: GMB accuses council leader of “sabotaging” strike

Sandwell bin workers, Image: LDRS

The leader of Sandwell Council is accused of  ‘sabotaging’ a strike by binmen over safety and bullying claims, which had been disrupting bin collections. 

According to GMB Union, the strike was misrepresented as ‘withdrawn’ in a press statement released by Sandwell Council yesterday (Thursday).

The strike was suspended on Tuesday after emergency talks between Serco Sandwell and GMB Union.

It is unclear whether strikes will continue to take place on the 7th, 14th, and 21st September.

Bin men had initially spoken out over pay disparity, bullying claims, and health and safety disputes in their workplace.

Over 80 bin men attended the first picket line on 31st August Sandwell Council Refuse Centre, in Oldbury. The strike, which began at 5.30am, and ended at 12pm, was aimed at Serco, a private company who manages public service contracts for local and national government.

Justine Jones, GMB Regional Organiser said: “Positive talks with Serco Sandwell are ongoing and we’re pleased with the progress so far.

“First Rajbir Singh ignored workers as strike support grew, then he failed to show any solidarity, now he blunders onto the stage to undermine their progress.

“We need politicians who will stand with our frontline heroes and fight for their safety.

Previous to the claims of misrepresentation, Iain Stockdale-Smith, Senior Contract Manager for Serco, said: “We’re pleased that our ongoing talks with the GMB Union have been received positively and the proposed strike dates for September have been suspended.
“We will continue to work with the GMB on a regular basis to communicate the progress of changes. Both parties agree that we must work together and give the time needed to deliver on what we’ve discussed.
“We apologise to residents for the disruption to bin collections this week and thank them for their patience while teams work hard to ensure all missed bins are collected.”
Councillor Maria Crompton, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for strong and resilient communities, said: “We are happy to hear that discussions between Serco and the GMB Union have been successful and further disruption to residents waste services has been prevented at this time.
“The garden waste service, which was suspended this week, will be able to restart on Monday, September 6. Unfortunately there have been some inevitable delays to household waste and recycling bin collections this week but teams will be working to get to any missed properties as quickly as they can.
“If residents do not receive a collection on their normal day, they should leave bins out and they will be emptied as soon as possible.”
Words: Rhi Storer, Local Democracy Reporter

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