Dustbin lorry drivers are set to strike once again over their redundancy rights.
Unite and Unison members are holding a protest rally outside The Forum this evening (April 18) at 6.45pm as the dispute with Dacorum Borough Council escalates.
The council’s redundancy allowance for staff was reduced in September from 2.2 weeks’ per year worked to 1.5 weeks per year worked.
Unite represents 40 drivers and loaders, 90 per cent of whom have voted to go on further strikes following their last protest in March.
Unite regional officer Richard Gates said: “It was agreed to hold a demonstration outside the planned council meeting, and for members of both unions to participate in further overtime ban actions at weekends leading up to and following the May bank holidays.
“I have said to the council numerous times that redundancy pay is given to employees not so they can go on a luxury holiday, but so they can continue to put food on the table for their family until they can secure another job.
“Therefore, this reduction in redundancy pay, running into hundreds of pounds, is completely unacceptable to our members. We won’t tolerate this race to the bottom.
“The trade unions have made it clear to the employer that the door is always open for discussions on this issue, something the council has repeatedly turned down.
“Until we have constructive talks and reach a fair settlement, this dispute will escalate with bin collections increasingly delayed with all the public health hazards that, unfortunately, may ensue.”
But a Dacorum Borough Council spokesman retorted: “The aim of these reforms was to create a total package of terms and conditions that were modern and attractive to staff, while also being fit for purpose and providing value for money to taxpayers.
“As part of this reform, the redundancy allowance was reduced from 2.2 weeks’ per year worked to 1.5 weeks per year worked. This brings it into line with other local authorities and it is above the statutory redundancy rate.”
Speaking on the impact the strikes would have on residents, the council spokesman added: “Whilst collections are back on schedule it is likely that collections over the May Bank Holidays will be affected.
“We will do our best to maintain essential services and minimise disruption as far as possible. Some disruption is unavoidable as a consequence of industrial action and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. Residents are regularly being advised to check the Council website and/or social media for updates.”