Bank holiday strike could cause a real stink in Leeds

Leeds residents potentially face a rubbish bank holiday in early May after 250 workers employed by Leeds Council in the Refuse and Street Cleaning Service threatened strike action in a dispute over pay.

Service members of the GMB union, are to be balloted for industrial action on 2 April and will conclude on 16 April. Strikes would take place on 1 May.

The strikes are in relation to proposed annual pay cuts of up to £6,000, which would affect 2,000 workers in a range of departments at the council.

Bill Chard, regional organiser for the GMB, said: “It is a disgrace that workers are being threatened with these huge cuts to their wage. GMB demonstrated outside the Civic Hall a couple of weeks ago to let the mix of Conservatives, Liberals and Greens who make up the ruling alliance know the strength of feeling of our members.

“GMB met with council representatives following the demonstration, [but] they refuse to stop the pay cuts or [to] lift the wages of women employees who earn hourly rates close to the minimum wage,” Chard said.

Leeds Council is in the midst of settling a multi-million pound bill for equal pay claims.

Thousands of the council’s female support staff, including cleaners, cooks and kitchen staff, are among those in line for backdated payouts, which could see individual workers receive thousands of pounds each.

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