Manchester residents could face piling rubbish as bin collectors vote on strike action this week. 220,000 homes are set to be affected if Biffa workers strike following “insulting” 1.75% pay offer.
Students in halls are unlikely to be affected by the strikes, as the university will seek to make alternative arrangements for the recycling currently managed by Biffa. But students living in private housing would face the “mass disruption for the people of Manchester” according to GMB Regional Organiser, Michael Clark.
Biffa are proposing to pay loaders and operators £10.14 per hour (just 64p above minimum wage), and bin drivers £13 an hour although they are required to hold HGV licenses.
This is significantly lower than commercial rates and causing more backlash as Clark said: “This is the worst cost of living crisis for 30 years and all workers – not just HGV drivers – deserve more than a real terms pay cut.”
Biffa are a private company who the bin collection service is outsourced to, by Manchester City Council. The proposed pay rise is in line with what local government workers received in 2021, but Biffa recorded pre-tax profits of £26 million last year.
Half of the Biffa workers are part of the union so would be voting in the ballot, which opened on March 29 and closes on April 12. Strikes could take place at the end of April, if members vote in support.
A third year student studying Mechanical engineering said, “I don’t want the whole of Manchester to be like Egerton Road.”
This strike ballot comes as there is current discussion with Manchester City Council about whether to continue Biffa’s contract as the eight-year deal, which began in 2015, comes to an end.
A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “Our general waste collection is managed through Veolia, and Biffa carry out our recycling operations for cardboard, bottles and plastics. We have not yet received any information about impending strikes from the supplier, but would plan to make alternative arrangements in the event of strikes occurring.”
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