Industrial action: update to residents
The Leader of Rugby Borough Council has thanked residents for their continued patience as industrial action continues to affect the council’s waste collection and street cleaning services.
He has also provided an update on progress to resolve the dispute.
Cllr Seb Lowe, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “I would like to thank our residents for their understanding during this period of industrial action. I know that our crews and redeployed staff who are continuing to work appreciate their support.
“Four weeks on, I want to update residents on our discussions with Unite.
Throughout discussions we have balanced our responsibilities towards our staff with our responsibilities to our residents. We are mindful of the need to be good stewards of public money.
We are continuing to engage in constructive discussions with Unite and, while we cannot alter the national pay settlement, we have made an offer and hope to reach an agreement soon.”
While the dispute centres around a national pay award that came into effect from April 2021, the council had been in discussions from November last year aimed at reviewing job roles and pay for refuse drivers, loaders and street cleaners. The council and Unite had both agreed that these reviews should be completed by the end of May this year. This process has now concluded.
After updating job profiles to reflect new responsibilities, analysis has confirmed that an increase in pay in the street cleaner and driver roles is justified. It has also showed that interim increases in refuse driver pay that had been agreed in December should be made permanent. Analysis of refuse loader roles confirmed that the existing grade, which attracts above average pay, is correct.
Unite’s request for loaders to be given additional pay for acting as a banksman could not be supported because this is already paid within the job role. Unite’s subsequent request, that loaders should be paid for Community Time equivalent to 30 minutes work per day, can however be accommodated by increasing the contracted hours from 37 to 39.5 hours per week. In return the council is asking that the crews work all of their contracted hours, bringing an end to the practice of allowing staff to leave work as soon as bin collection rounds are completed and in turn for the resource to be directed to additional community time.
The council has offered:
- Additional payments for refuse drivers paid since December to be made permanent. Total pay available will rise to up to £30,940
- Agreement to Unite’s request for paid Community Time for refuse loaders, if crews work all of their contracted hours. Total pay available will rise to up to £24,587.
- An uplift in pay grade and additional payments for street cleaners and drivers, reflecting increased responsibilities since last review. Total pay available will rise to up to £24,587.
- No change in the nationally agreed pay award
The council will write to crews with the full details of the offer so that they can see how they will be affected individually. The council will continue to update residents on the progress of the discussions.