Around 600 Leeds “Streetscene” council workers, including street cleaners and refuse collectors, are on indefinite strike. This has been caused by Leeds City council’s decision to cut annual pay by up to one third on average, from £18,000 to £13,000. As shop steward Glen Pickersgill said: “People will lose their homes if this goes through.”
Kevin Pattison and Manny Dominguez, Leeds Socialist Party
This could be the first of many disputes between councils and unions as cuts are made in public spending. The Tory/LibDem-run council say they have to make cuts. But the council leader, Richard Brett, claimed a staggering £45,833 in allowances last year.
The council also claim they have to do this in order to comply with equal pay laws. But how can cutting the wages of some of the lowest paid workers, including women, serve the cause of equality? The council is refusing to negotiate.
The strike is starting to bite, with bins left unemptied and refuse collection sites closed by pickets or for lack of staff.
The Unison and GMB members have strong support from the people of Leeds. They are appreciated as hardworking people who turn out every day in all weathers.
A demonstration at council offices on 10 September was followed by a march across the city centre to a meeting, which voted unanimously to continue the strike.