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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 October 2009

Leeds bin strike: 92% vote to reject council's 'final' offer

Striking bin collection crews in Leeds overwhelmingly voted to reject the council's 'final' offer at last week's mass meeting, which could see the dispute over equal pay run until Christmas and beyond.

A Leeds Unison steward

Under the 'deal' put forward to GMB and Unison members, the 5,000-6,000 they would be losing from the single status agreement would be vastly reduced, but different crews would fare better than others.

The deal also meant that these reduced cuts would be tied to increased productivity.

Pickets have told us that they are not work-shy but the targets set are impossible. Emptying each bin would have to take 70 seconds.

Management are so confident that they are reachable, they should go on the round and show them how to get the job done!

Unison regional organiser Tony Pearson said in the Yorkshire Evening Post: "The offer includes an expectation that staff will increase the number of bins they empty per hour from 190 to 220.

"The people who do this job say that target is physically impossible to achieve and so the staff would automatically lose 4,500 a year."

What is significant about the 'final offer' and its rejection is that the bin men have the upper hand now to win this strike.

Firstly, it was the council that initiated the talks after publicly refusing to do so until the crews went back to work, and secondly, they offered to vastly reduce the pay cuts albeit tied to increased productivity, which shows the money is there, especially when the cost of hiring scab labour from private agencies is taken into account.

There were loud cheers when the ballot result was read out and now on week eight the mood on the picket line is still defiant.

Many of us too are bracing ourselves as to how budget cuts will affect us, especially when the council wants to reduce its workforce by 20%.

And there are 1,400 more workers who are set to lose out under the single status agreement.

Wherever jobs, pay, conditions and services are threatened we need to be balloting our members for strike action.

This will give confidence to and buoy our striking bin workers and increase the likelihood of a victory for all of us.

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In The Socialist 28 October 2009:

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Postal strike reports: Defending the service


Anti-racism

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Socialism 2009

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Youth fight for jobs

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Anti-war

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Socialist Party news and analysis

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Energy giant 'fanciful to the point of paranoia'


Marxist analysis

80th anniversary of the Wall Street Crash: Capitalist failure - then and now


Workplace news and analysis

Strikes sweep across Yorkshire

Leeds bin strike: 92% vote to reject council's 'final' offer

Battle for jobs in Land Registry

Ex Ford/Visteon pensioners protest in Swansea

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Call centres - public services on the cheap


Marxist analysis: history

Newport Rising 1839


Comment

Daily Mail homophobia


Socialist Party reviews

Film review - Capitalism: a love story

Conspirator: Lenin in Exile


 

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