Newly-elected Labour Canterbury Council hit by bin strike

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In their first 9 weeks in office, Labour-run Canterbury Council have failed to deal with the trade dispute which saw dozens of refuse collectors walk out as of this morning

Members of GMB, the union for waste and recycling services, today started a period of industrial action over pay, having failed to reach agreement with their employer, Canenco. 

Canenco is Canterbury City Council’s waste contractor but is wholly owned by the council, which acts as their only client. 

GMB secured the mandate for strike action in April, but had agreed to suspend the walkout pending talks, which have ultimately failed to provide a breakthrough. 

The latest pay offer was a small increase compared to the previous offer and was unanimously rejected by the members. 

Frank Macklin, GMB Regional Organiser said: 

“Despite having a Labour leader for the first time since 1994, the industrial relations between Canterbury City Council and GMB could scarcely have been poorer. 

“Canenco is a wholly owned company and it is well within the gift of council officers and elected members to increase the budget and choose to give our members a proper pay rise which reflects how much people are struggling at the moment. 

“In an expensive area to live, these workers are not very well paid, and a below-inflation pay rise is not going to change that. 

“The economy of Canterbury relies on tourism, and that will be massively impacted by rubbish piling up in the streets, attracting flies and rats in the hot summer weather. 

“Perhaps the newly-elected Labour Councillors might want to think about that when deciding whether or not to allocate any more money to this key service.”