Binmen set to strike as councillors face ‘backstabbing’ claim
CRAIGAVON binmen are threatening strike action from Monday - the day a new bin collection system is about to begin.
Despite apparently successful negotiations between staff and management at Craigavon Council last week, it is understood councillors rejected the deal at Monday night’s council meeting.
However, a spokesperson said, “Council has not been notified of any strike action.”
According to well-placed sources, unionists voted against the management proposal that the binmen work four and a half days per week and a total of 37 hours.
It is understood some councillors were insistent that the staff work a full five-day week, also totalling 37 hours.
Tense negotiations last week averted a strike when the GMB union and management thrashed out a deal on working hours.
Unions had also been concerned that there had not been a health and safety assessment on the new bin routes.
John Dawson, of the GMB Union said, “I have been stabbed in the back by the councillors. We went out of our way to meet the council half way.
“They have stabbed their own employees in the back.
“I am very, very disappointed,” he said.
He explained that he will be meeting union members tomorrow (Friday) and the proposal will be to start a form of industrial action on Monday.
“Management were fine with the proposals but it was the councillors who rejected them,” he said.
He said no risk assessments have been done on these routes.
Around 50 members of the GMB were due to be sent ballots last week after negotiations regarding working hours and health and safety concerns collapsed.
However during 11th hour talks a deal was reached which was amicable to both Craigavon management and the unions.
The deal was brought to a committee of Craigavon council on Monday night, but it is understood there was a unionist-nationalist split on supporting the deal.
The meeting was held behind closed doors in a committee and the press were not privy to the discussions. However it is understood there was a recorded vote on the matter.
New collections arrangements are due to take effect on Monday, March 11 in a widely publicised campaign by the council.
Currently staff who collect council waste have been working a 37-hour week, which finishes at lunchtime on Fridays.
Councillor Carla Lockhart, Mayor of Craigavon, said, “The decision concerning route optimisation was taken in confidential business at Monday night’s council meeting. I can confirm that a decision has been taken by council concerning the matter and, as is the case with all decisions made by full council, it will be implemented.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Portadown
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South