Cabinet issues open letter as bin strike continues
City council Cabinet members have issued an open letter as a fourth day of bin strikes in the district comes to an end today (Monday 10 July).
It reads as follows:
Open letter to:
David Maidman, Managing Director, Canenco
Mark Hammond, Regional Organiser, Unison
Kate Marr, Area Organiser, Unison
Gary Palmer, Regional Organiser, GMB
Dear David, Mark, Kate and Gary
An open letter – Canenco pay dispute
We are disappointed GMB members working for Canenco have rejected its latest offer – pay increases of 14.9% for drivers and 8.9% for loaders – and have returned to the picket lines this morning (Monday 10 July).
We hope Canenco’s only recognised union, Unison, and its members will look favourably on this same offer.
It is an offer which represents significant movement on Canenco’s part towards both unions’ requests and a commitment to end this dispute so those GMB members striking can get back to work and start getting paid again.
The decision to continue with this industrial action will mean disruption to the collections of thousands of residents for the fourth day in a row, despite the heroic efforts of those staff still willing to work.
It’s right to acknowledge that all of Canenco’s crews do an incredibly hard job brilliantly come rain or shine, in the depths of winter or during the searing heat of the summer.
We recognise the cost of living crisis is hitting absolutely everyone’s pockets and causing real misery. We know there is absolutely no escape from rising food, energy, fuel and other costs.
But the council and its finances are not immune from those very same pressures.
We have been clear with Canenco and take the opportunity to repeat our message to you collectively, there is no more money that the council can use to pay for pay increases for Canenco staff.
The council is down to the bare bones. Any more money would have to come from cutting back the services Canenco provides after a public consultation and/or by moving money away from vital council-run frontline services like dealing with rough sleeping, finding homes for those who find themselves without a bed for the night, or repairing and restoring children’s play areas and community open spaces.
We were elected to protect services just like those so proposing cuts is a line we cannot cross.
To be clear, we will not cut council services to pay for wage increases above those already offered.
As politicians, we have tried to keep out of this dispute.
It is a negotiation between Canenco – a separate company – and the GMB, but we felt the need for all cards to be openly and transparently laid on the table so there is no room for misunderstanding.
We urge the GMB’s members to consider Canenco’s offer in light of our letter so we can resolve this issue as quickly as possible for everyone involved.
Cllr Alan Baldock, Leader, Canterbury City Council
Cllr Charlotte Cornell, Cabinet Member for Heritage, Open Spaces, Waste and Recycling, Canterbury City Council
Cllr Connie Nolan, Cabinet Member for Community, Culture, Safety and Engagement, Canterbury City Council
Published: 10 July 2023