Trafford binmen protest over proposed changes to waste service
Binmen in Trafford have staged a sit-in protest over proposed changes to the green waste collection services that would see the number of people responsible for loading waste into collection trucks reduced from two to one.
Workers in the Greater Manchester local authority were called to a meeting at a depot in Altrincham last week (15 February) where they were told that only one loader would be accompanying the driver on rounds, which led to up to 20 members of staff refusing to leave the depot’s canteen on health and safety grounds.
Environmental services company Amey provides the council’s waste collection services following the out-sourcing of the council’s waste management services to the company in 2015, and is currently negotiating on a new green waste collection operating arrangement that would see fewer resources committed over the winter period where there is less demand for the service.
Ray Carrick, an organiser for the GMB union who stepped in as tempers flared, told the Manchester Evening News: “GMB makes no apology for standing up for our members to ensure they are kept safe at work. Guidelines exist for a reason – and we trust this incident now sets a precedent for future collections to guarantee worker and public safety.”
A spokesperson for Trafford Council told the Manchester Evening News: “Following an investigation into this issue it has been confirmed that there are discussions taking place with all staff and trade unions across the green waste services regarding proposals for a revised operating arrangement which would reduce resources during the agreed winter programmes, when there are reduced levels of demand.
“In this regard negotiations are continuing with the trade unions and any revised arrangements arising from these proposals will not be implemented until these negotiations have been concluded. The council can therefore confirm that crew numbers remain as is and normal services are in place.”
Trafford Council, which serves around 230,000 residents, will be keen for the dispute to be resolved as soon as possible in order to avoid a similar situation to that experienced in Birmingham last year, where a long-running standoff between the council and binmen belonging to the Unite union over proposed job cuts and working hours drew national attention, with disruption to bin collections causing serious political fallout for the council.