Refuse collection workers in Leicestershire are planning to strike for three weeks next month as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.
The GMB union said 50 of its members were expected to join the latest strike action between August 1 and 18 – something which will see as many as 50,000 households go without refuse collections for three weeks.
The union said the action has been planned after attempts to initiate negotiations with Blaby District Council were ignored.
They are seeking a 15 per cent pay rise for workers on top of a potential £1,925 increase on offer nationally.
However, the authority have labelled this “unrealistic and unaffordable.”
They also explained that it could not legally negotiate while negotiations at a national level were taking place.
“What disappoints me most is the fact the GMB do not seem to be listening to us when we say we cannot negotiate at a local level and, even if we could, a pay rise of the magnitude they are asking for would simply not be affordable,” said Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council.
“We would have to uplift the pay of every single member of staff by around £4,000. Where would that money come from?
“I do not understand why the GMB have announced such draconian action,” he added.
“I would urge the GMB officials to see sense, recognise what we are saying and call off this action which will only impact our residents further.”
David Warwick, GMB Organiser said that low pay was forcing local refuse workers “to the breadline”.
“They are only asking for a wage that lets them raise a family and pay the bills,” he added.
“Instead of addressing the cause of the strike, council bosses instead instructed local workers to use a foodbank if their wages were too low.
“The council have tried to throw sand in the eyes of local people by claiming the authority is already dealing with the issue, but this is outright untrue.”
Blaby District Council says that plans are being put in place to minimise disruption for residents during the strikes. “However, clearly, given the scope of this announcement more disruption must be expected.”