Norfolk refuse workers open vote on strike action

Refuse and cleansing workers in North Norfolk and Breckland are voting on strikes over super-profitable contractor Serco’s refusal to pay staff more than ‘crumbs from its table,’ says UNISON today.

During months of negotiations, Serco has refused to meaningfully shift from a pay offer worth just 4% to HGV drivers and around 7% for loaders.

This is despite inflation hitting double digits and Serco Ltd making more than £2,300 profit* for each employee in 2021, the last year for which accounts are available.

In an effort to break the deadlock, UNISON agreed to talks at conciliation service Acas and lowered its initial pay claim to £14.50 for HGV drivers and £12 for loaders.

Serco responded by saying it would no longer talk to UNISON about pay at one of the councils.

Workers in refuse collection, grounds and maintenance services, cleansing and street cleaning have been left with no option but to ballot for action, says UNISON.

The union has launched a petition today asking members of the public to support refuse workers.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Cameron Matthews said: “Serco is raking in millions in profits but only offering Norfolk refuse staff crumbs from its table.

“Workers have bent over backwards to find a resolution to this dispute, but they need money to keep their heads above water as the cost of living keeps rising. Instead of trying to avoid strikes, Serco has decided to stop talking about pay entirely at one of these councils.

“If strikes go ahead, it’ll be entirely down to Serco’s intransigence. Staff don’t want to cause residents any disruption but Serco has left them with no choice.”

Sign the petition