Wirral refuse worker pay dispute ends in agreement
A pay dispute between refuse workers in Wirral belonging to the trade union Unite and waste management company Biffa Waste Services has been settled after workers agreed to an improved pay offer.
The 180 refuse workers employed by Biffa on the Wirral Council waste services contract, which runs until 2027, voted to strike at the end of March after Unite failed to reach an agreement with Biffa over the transition from weekly to monthly pay, which Unite claimed left the workers without adequate financial safeguards.
Following further discussions between senior management at Biffa and Unite representatives, Unite members have voted to accept an improved pay offer of 3.5 per cent, which will be back-dated from April 2019, with Biffa working with Unite representatives on how and when the back pay will be paid.
Monthly pay will not be implemented until the end of the year, with Unite fully consulted on how this should work. Once introduced, Unite members will receive a one-off non-consolidated payment of 0.5 per cent of their annual salary.
Despite the vote to strike at the end of March, a walkout was postponed over the pay deal in order to keep waste services running during the Covid-19 crisis. A walkout did take place at the start of April, however, over safety concerns related to the pandemic.
Commenting on the resolution, Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said: “This was a strong pay offer which finally met our member’s expectations and ended what has been a tense industrial period.
“Residents on the Wirral will be relieved to learn that their bin collection service will not be disrupted. Unite has stressed from the outset that this dispute could be resolved through meaningful negotiations and that has proved to be the case.
“Unite is hopeful that this deal will pave the way for improved industrial relations with Biffa in the future.”
A Biffa spokesperson: “Following constructive discussions we are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable agreement. We would like to thank our local teams for their continued support.”