Leicester-based refuse workers at waste management solutions business Biffa have rejected a 1.75% pay increase offer from the organisation, with strike action a possibility if an agreement cannot be made.
Following the rejection of its previous offer, staff are trying to negotiate for a 3% pay rise instead and a commitment from Biffa that it will become a living wage employer soon, which it aims to do by 2030.
Jim Clarke, regional organiser for the union GMB, commented that attempts to negotiate with the organisation have now stalled, so the workers will be left to decide if they want to pursue industrial action.
“Key workers can’t pay their bills with claps and no key worker should be earning less than the real living wage of £9.50 in 2021. These workers keep Leicester clean and worked day after day throughout the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Our members are calling on Biffa to do the right thing and come back to the table with an offer that reflects the work these GMB members do,” he said.
A spokesperson for Biffa said: “We are committed to finding an agreed resolution and we will be continuing pay talks with our employees and their representatives.”
In addition, Leicester City Council currently has a contract in place with Biffa regarding waste collections in the city, which will last until 2028 when the contract is due for a renewal.
According to a council spokesperson, Biffa’s staff have shown “tremendous resilience and commitment” throughout the pandemic, which has helped keep weekly waste and recycling collections in Leicester “running smoothly during very challenging times”.
“The council is in contact with Biffa about this issue. However, it remains a matter between Biffa and its workforce, which we hope can be resolved amicably,” the spokesperson said.