Bin workers rallying against the Labour council in Coventry during their 2022 strike

Coventry council is set to fire and rehire its entire refuse collection workforce. The Unite union says it has been negotiating with the Labour-led authority over changes to working practices for the refuse collection team.

Unite accepted proposals to resolve the dispute, but the council has withdrawn its own proposals and will instead fire and rehire its workers. It will get rid of a condition known as task and finish that allows the workers to leave for the day as soon as their work is completed. 

The council is fighting the GMB union’s equal pay claim by scrapping this condition. Unite says it will “demand and fight for equal pay—but not at the cost of other workers”. It calls “for a levelling up, so that all workers genuinely benefit—and not a race to the bottom by levelling down”. The 130 workers voted for strikes when the plans were first announced at the end of last year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The actions of Coventry council in firing and rehiring its refuse collection workers is abhorrent. “Unite never takes a backward step when the jobs, pay and conditions of its members come under attack.” Labour previously pledged to ban fire and rehire. 

But now it ready to ditch all its promises. Action now by the refuse workers would follow an all-out six-month strike by the same group in 2022 during a pay battle. Unite must now name strike days and call for a campaign against the plans—and make sure it fights the council to protect all workers.

Oil workers back action

Some 60 workers in the offshore sector have voted for strikes. Around 50 Unite union members at IES Callenberg voted 83 percent for action on a 73 percent turnout. The workers provide heating, ventilation and air conditioning services on offshore platforms operated by BP, TAQA, CNR, Repsol, Serica and CNOOC. 

Unite has announced strikes from 25 to 27 March, 15 to 17 April, 6 to 8 May, and 27 May to 29 May. Unite’s SGS UK Limited’s members also supported the strike by 89 percent on a 100 percent turnout. 

The ten chemists provide services to the offshore oil and gas industry, servicing BP’s platforms the Clair, Clair Ridge, ETAP and Glen Lyon. The chemists will take week-long strikes on 25 March, 15 April, 6 May and 27 May.

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