Anglesey bin workers prepare to strike

Most waste collections on Anglesey are set to stop next week as bin workers go on strike.

Biffa staff on the island will stage a week-long walkout from Easter Monday (22nd April) in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The Unite union says staff working for the contractor are the lowest paid refuse collectors in Wales, despite Anglesey having the best recycling rates in the country.

Anglesey Council says Biffa will try to collect all black bins as scheduled from Monday to Friday (22nd – 26th April), but all other collections, including green bins, food waste and nappies won’t take place until the strike ends.

The council’s two recycling centres at Penhesgyn and Gwalchmai will be open every day during the strike (22nd – 29th April) from 10am to 5pm.

A spokesperson said: ”We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but unfortunately, the matter is outside the council’s control.”

Unite claims loaders for Biffa are working for the minimum hourly rate of £7.83, with drivers paid ”just a few pence more”.

The waste management firm is under contract to provide recycling services for the local authority until March 2021.

As of 1st April, council staff have been paid £9 a hour under the so-called ‘living wage’ – but refuse workers are not automatically entitled to the pay rise because they work for a hired contractor rather than the county council itself.

Unite Wales regional officer, Paddy McNaught, said: ”Ynys Mon county council head the Welsh recycling and collection statistics and Biffa employees provide an excellent service.”

”It is a disgrace that these hardworking employees are treated in this way whilst council employees in similar grades working direct for the council earn above the foundation living wage. It is completely unacceptable that our members are paid these poverty wages. Many are forced to rely on pay day loans simply to survive.”

”Biffa’s failure to improve its pay offer has pushed our members and Unite into a corner. We have no other option left open to us except to take industrial action. Unfortunately, the residents of the island will suffer by facing a mountain of uncollected refuse as strike action takes place over the Easter period.”

Biffa have yet to comment on the planned industrial action.

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