Colchester bin strikes off after workers accept improved pay offer

Council workers in Colchester have accepted an improved pay deal and cancelled the threat of strikes by refuse collectors, UNISON says today.

Staff at Colchester City Council and Colchester Borough Homes accepted a rise of £1,925 this week – almost double the council’s original offer.

Workers overwhelmingly rejected the council’s initial £1,000 pay offer and voted for strikes to try to secure a better deal. The disruption would have affected refuse collections, housing maintenance and crematoriums, as well as other council services.

Colchester Council leaders confirmed staff would receive the £1,925 rise – the sum agreed in national negotiations covering other local government workers – in a message to staff today after a full council meeting discussing finance last night.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Sam Older said: “It’s disappointing it took the threat of strike action for Colchester Council to accept staff deserve to be paid fairly.

“Council leaders have been claiming that a fair pay rise for staff will mean cuts to front-line services. But despite this improved deal, the council’s workers still earn less than colleagues at many other authorities.

“These staff still need to pay their bills and feed their families. They aren’t a cash cow to make up for funding shortfalls from central government.

“Colchester Council leaders should support UNISON in campaigning for greater local government funding rather than complain that they can’t hold wages down as much as they’d like.”