John Perry, TGWU Regional Industrial Organiser, told Solidarity that talks have resulted in payments being offered which could bridge the gap over pay. The union is still demanding that there are no job losses, that no agency workers will be used, and that no action will be taken against the 25 workers who have faced disciplinary interviews.
Unions representing the Hackney refuse workers may be close to reaching an agreement in their dispute with the council. The dispute began on 22 December last year, when Hackney Council imposed new contracts which saw 58 refuse loaders lose up to £3,000 and introduced new working conditions.
One of the key lessons in this dispute has been the way the Council organised a scabbing operation, bringing in agency workers at great cost to Hackney's finances. Of course, agency staff are being used by councils everywhere. Either the unions have a unionising drive among these workers or they will face similar situations time and again.