Council accused by union as strike fails to materialise

THE row between Craigavon Borough Council and the union representing binmen has taken a new twist.

GMB union leader John Dawson said he was ‘outraged’ after workers received hand delivered letters warning about the implications of industrial action.

In last week’s Mail the union claimed workers would strike after councillors rejected a deal on new bin routes in Craigavon. Binmen started the new routes on Monday as the strike action didn’t materialise but Mr Dawson said councillors hadn’t heard the last of the issue.

“Last Friday GMB gave senior management within environmental services a document which stated that GMB members intended to abide with their existing contract of 37 hours and simply requested locations for toilet, washing and eating facilities prior to the introduction of new bin routes,” said Mr Dawson.

“To date with exception of the press statement by the Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Carla Lockhart no official documentation was given to GMB officers by CBC officers clarifying that consultation had ended.

“No notification to CBC by GMB officers was given, regarding any overtime ban, go slow or work to rule as this is not our intention at this present time. However we exercise the right to ballot our members in the future.”

The union boss said members were “outraged” as management were making arrangements with the crews to provide a service on St Patrick’s Day, including additional overtime, after councillors requested it.

“Refuse crews, who have been only been given the new routes by waste management, have been asked to adjust the new computerised bin routes whilst they empty the bins,” said Mr Dawson.

“Once again CBC, especially the elected members who chose to remove our members’ existing contracts by a ‘recorded vote in committee’, have now resorted to bully boy tactics by sending officers to our members’ homes with letters warning them about taking any industrial action when none is in existence.

“The fact that an agreement was reached on an operational matter with senior management and then rejected by elected members questions as to whether trade unions within CBC should continue to consult with management.”

A spokeswoman for the Craigavon Council said: “There has been no industrial action from GMB members following the start of the new bin routes on Monday, March 11.

“Bin collections are now being carried out following the new routes and residents are reminded to continue to refer to their information leaflet until they become familiar with their new bin collection day.”