Picketing to build the bin strike on Monday

Bullying tactics and lies have not stopped a refuse workers’ strike in Surrey.

The workers, who are outsourced to waste collection giant Amey in Elmbridge and Surrey Heath, began three weeks of strikes on Monday.

GMB union regional organiser Paul Grafton told Socialist Worker on Monday that workers on the picket line are in high spirits. “As it stands the mood is brilliant” he said. “Workers are happy to be striking and are inspired by the bin strikes that have been going on across the country. 

“Most of the workforce is out, and less than half of the vehicles Amey has are on the streets. Today is when garden waste is collected. But none of the garden waste crew is working. So hopefully, tomorrow Amey will receive thousands of emails from homes who haven’t seen a collection.” 

Paul added that Amey is using dirty tactics to try and turn public opinion and break the strikes. “The bosses told the BBC that drivers would get a 25 percent pay rise. This is simply not true. We can show them what Amey has offered drivers, and it’s certainly not that much,” he said. 

Paul added that managers had also tried to persuade workers to vote for a new pay deal without union involvement. “We’ve got footage of managers trying to use inducement to get workers to accept a new pay deal. It’s shocking the lengths they are going to. 

“Add to this the bullying, where workers are being told they’ll be sacked and that strikes are unlawful.” 

But despite the attempts to crush the strike, workers are standing firm. Paul said,“Speaking to workers on pickets, they are clear that a pay rise is essential during a cost of living crisis. I spoke to one worker who said that he has just £10 to live on a week after bills and his rent and fuel. 

Refuse workers in Surrey have the bosses scared. Escalating strikes can win workers the pay rise they urgently need.

Elsewhere in Surrey, Unite union bin workers at Mole Valley district council have accepted a pay deal worth between 10 percent and 20 percent.

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