Serco claims 1.75pc pay rise for bin collectors 'fair and reasonable'

Breckland councillor and Swanton Morley Parish Council chairman, Roger Atterwill, is concerned about

Independent councillor Roger Atterwill said the council needed to "get a grip" of the situation. - Credit: Archant

Contractor Serco has said a 1.75pc pay-rise offer to its bin collectors in the Breckland area was "fair and reasonable".

But the workers are reportedly "furious" over the offer, and could consider industrial action after a meeting of Unison and GMB union members in Watton, which took place on September 2.

It comes as thousands of households across the district have been hit by delays to their bin collections in recent months.

Generic - Binmen picture.
Council recycling feature at West Norfolk council depot, new 240 litres '

At a meeting this morning, bin collectors in the UNISON and GMB unions refused to accept a pay-rise offer from Serco - Credit: Archant

Independent councillor Roger Atterwill, who represents Lincoln ward, near Dereham, said in July the situation had been "absolutely appalling" since a new £230m deal began earlier this year. 

Unison Norfolk county Serco convenor, Nigel Beiley, said: “Breckland’s bin workers are furious at the way they’re being treated.

“Staff are facing heavier and heavier workloads as many of their colleagues have been driven out by the low pay.

"With inflation running near 4pc, Serco’s 1.75pc offer won’t even maintain wages at their current level."

UNISON Norfolk county Serco convenor Nigel Beiley

UNISON Norfolk county Serco convenor Nigel Beiley said: “Breckland’s bin workers are furious at the way they’re being treated." - Credit: UNISON

Emma Windle, Serco's senior contract manager said: “It is always our intention to work in partnership with trade unions and can confirm discussions with our staff and the union are still ongoing.

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"Following the meeting on September 2 we wrote to all of our frontline employees outlining the pay and benefits package on offer which I am confident is fair and reasonable. This is still to be voted upon by the trade union members."

Mr Beiley added: "We're still hoping that these issues can be resolved through negotiation but if Serco can't bring an improved offer to the table workers will be left with no choice but to ballot on industrial action."

Terry Jermy who is chair of the board at Charles Burrell Centre and a town, district, and county cou

Labour group leader Terry Jermy said he hoped Breckland and Serco listen to workers' concerns. - Credit: Archant

Terry Jermy, Breckland councillor and leader of the Labour opposition group, said: “I hope that Breckland and Serco now have a better relationship with the staff but also the union, and actually listen to their concerns and make them a fair offer, because they have seen their pay and terms and conditions impacted in an unfair way and I can entirely understand why so many staff have chosen to leave, which is never a good scenario for any organisation.”

Ms Windle added: "I am full of gratitude and respect for our frontline staff who have continued to deliver operations in such a professional manner through this process, as they have done all through the Covid pandemic."