Bath & North East Somerset Council is stepping in to work with Kier and help clear the backlog of recycling and food waste that has arisen as a result of industrial action by Kier workers represented by Unite the Union.
From Monday 11th January onwards, the Council will bring in additional crews to clear the recycling and food waste that remains from Thursday’s and Friday’s collections.
This is in addition to the Kier crews which will be out making Monday’s scheduled recycling and food waste collections as usual.
In a statement issued by B&NES Council, they said: “We are doing our utmost but it will take time to resolve this difficult situation, which is not of our making.
“We appreciate that residents are being inconvenienced, so we thank you for your patience and for continuing to recycle.”
- If your collection was due on Wednesday 6th January, it is the Council’s intention to collect this on your next collection day: Wednesday 13th January. Put your waste back on this day.
- If your collection was due on Thursday 7th January, they will be aiming to catch up this work from Monday 1th January onwards. Please put your recycling and food waste out for collection from Monday morning and the Council will get to you as soon as we can.
- If your recycling was due on Friday 8th January, they will be aiming to catch up this work from Tuesday 12th January onwards. Put your recycling and food waste out for collection from Tuesday morning and the recycling teams will get to you as soon as we can.
The Council say they will endeavour to catch up on both Thursday’s and Friday’s collections as quickly as possible.
This may take longer than one day for each catch-up, so these collections could continue further into the week.
If you see your recyclables being collected in what looks like a bin lorry instead of the usual recycling lorry then be assured this waste is still being recycled, it is just being collected by a different vehicle.
The Council’s priority is to ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled – it is really important that materials which can be recycled do not go to landfill.
Rubbish collections remain unaffected by industrial action.
B&NES Council announced on 31st December that staff working for their recycling contractor Kier, had begun industrial action in the form of an overtime ban.
Talks have been ongoing between Kier and the Unite union for a number of months, with the Unite members requesting a substantial increase to their pay (£7.81/hour) for work across the B&NES area.
On Thursday 7th January, Unite rejected a three percent pay increase offered by Kier.
A Kier spokeswoman explained: “We are really frustrated and disappointed that UNITE refused to move from a position of demanding a 20% pay increase, rejecting an industry-leading offer totalling 12% over the next 18 months: 3% now backdated to July 2015, 4% in July 2016 and 5% in July 2017, choosing instead to end talks and enter a 24 hour strike today [Friday 8th].
“We are very sorry for the disruption that the strike is causing residents, but unfortunately due to strike laws we are unable to use any additional resource to offset the impact of the strike.
“The strike was not a unanimous one as far as the whole depot workforce is concerned, and the agency staff that UNITE refers to as they well know, are the existing agency team that already work on this contract, who haven’t chosen to strike.
“This existing crew are working incredibly hard to mitigate the impact of the strike. Until yesterday we were bound by the ACAS talks being confidential, which if broken can be used as an excuse to end negotiations.
“Now that UNITE has ended talks we have set up a dedicated web page (www.kier.co.uk/bath-northeastsomerset-recycling) to share updates with residents, but we would ask for their ongoing patience because we are also facing problems with the picket line, which this morning involved several union representatives using vehicles to block our vehicles leaving the depot.”
This story will be updated when more information is made available from B&NES Council, Kier and Unite.