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8 December 2021

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Sandwell bin workers beat Serco and win pay rise

Bins, photo Ivor Ibrahamsen (Creative Commons)

Bins, photo Ivor Ibrahamsen (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Richard Gingell, Birmingham North Socialist Party

It's a good thing Serco runs refuse centres, because they certainly belong in the trash. This time there's trouble up in Sandwell in the West Midlands, where over 100 refuse workers have been on strike citing poor pay, dangerous conditions and bullying from management.

The strikes started with a few days here and there from August, increasing in intensity, with a plan to escalate in the build up to Christmas. However, following a 90% ballot to accept a deal from Serco, those plans are no more.

The offer itself is a 4% increase, as well as an uplift of around £1,000 for drivers, and a promise to bring agency workers onto permanent contracts and fix safety issues around the site.

While this is a welcome victory, the issues are far from solved. The Sandwell refuse workers still face a huge pay discrepancy versus those doing the same role in neighbouring authorities, a difference as high as £7,000 in extreme cases. There's also the obvious problem of that 4% raise being almost entirely wiped out by inflation within a year.

Instead, workers need to continue to press their advantage and fight to get their compensation bought into line with their neighbours - a demand that Serco will bitterly oppose as their profits come directly from the wages of those under their employ. If Serco won't listen, then this battle needs to be brought to the local Labour council to finally put the interests of those in our community above that of the profits of the multinationals.

If the council won't do that, then they need to be challenged at the ballot box - which is what the Socialist Party will be doing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition this May!

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In The Socialist 8 December 2021:


Unite to fight for pay and NHS we deserve

Government social care plans: Where is the money?

Uni staff and students must unite to end marketisation and for free education

Covid news in brief

What we think

Workers' politics needed to exploit Tory scandal and splits

People's Budgets

Building People's Budgets: An alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

International news

Chile presidential election - stop the far-right candidate

Unprecedented floods in British Columbia

Wider working-class and union struggle needed to win St Vincent nurses' strike

Defending abortion rights in the US

Workplace news

Universities strike - build the action and stand united to win

Thousands of Tesco warehouse workers to strike

Sandwell bin workers beat Serco and win pay rise

Panasonic workers break company pay freeze

Clarks strikers defeat 'fire and rehire'

Organise to win the NEU's 8% pay demand

Yorkshire Stagecoach bus workers' week-long strike

Worksop Wincanton logistics workers on strike

Newham Sixth Form College begins strike against academisation

Sheffield Just East couriers picket and march for pay rise

Napo ballots for trade dispute

Campaigns news

Affordable housing for all

Challenge cutters and evictors in Waltham Forest Council

Remembering Tony Davison

Fighting Fund: Help us reach over 50,000

Defying unjust laws - a rich history of struggle

Mail attacks tube strikers by stealing socialist's image


Film review: The Harder They Fall


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Related links:

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triangleThurrock refuse workers strike escalates

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triangleLow pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

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Bin workers:

triangleSocialist Party members joined the picket lines of striking bin workers in Coventry fighting for better pay. January 2022

triangleCoventry bin workers strike against Christmas holiday cut


triangleObituary - Ethan Bradley 1993-2021


trianglePeople's Budget: We beat council cuts before, we will again


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Article dated 8 December 2021

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Coventry bin workers on strike, January 2022, photo by Dave Nellist

Socialist Party members joined the picket lines of striking bin workers in Coventry fighting for better pay. January 2022

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