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Newham refuse workers ‘lose £20,000’ in pay grading dispute

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Refuse workers employed by Newham LBC could have lost more than £20,000 each in the last decade in a dispute over pay grading, according to the union Unite.

The 45 refuse workers will be balloted for strike action from 23 April over what Unite claims is the council’s “failure” to progress them through the grading structure since 2007-2008.

Unite calculates that the potential loss of pay because of the failure to upgrade the workers amounts to £1,760 a year – a total of £21,000 over the last 12 years. It claims that the council has reneged on agreement for the progression of refuse workers from grade 3 to grade 4 and then grade 5 on the national pay scales, pending satisfactory appraisals.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said “It is a stain on this council’s reputation that it has ‘ducked-and-dived’ in avoiding honouring this agreement - the grievance complaint that Unite lodged on this issue was not heard until June 2018.

“The council bosses have admitted that they failed to implement the scheme, but, curiously, they have not been able to say why they agreed to it in the first place when they had no intention of implementing it.

 “This is an issue of basic trust and if the employer is allowed to get away with not implementing the agreement, then it will be emboldened to do so again and again – eventually affecting every council employee adversely.”

A spokesperson for Newham MBC said the council is aware of the proposed ballot “by a small number of Unite members”. ”We will seek to work with the union to find a solution to the matter,” they said.

The ballot for strike action closes on 21 May. 

The council is currently undergoing a major review of how it operates following the election of new mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (Lab) in May 2018. She succeded Sir Robin Wales (Lab) who has been in office for 16 years. 

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