Workers employed by Ealing Council’s two-year-old in-house refuse, recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance company Greener Ealing Ltd (GEL) are to vote on taking strike action over low pay.
According to trade union GMB, Greener Ealing Ltd and Ealing Council has failed to provide workers with what it calls a “serious pay offer” and claims a pay increase should have been given in April. They also say other refuse providers in London have made pay offers and Labour-run Ealing Council and Greener Ealing Ltd remain the only employer not providing a pay offer.
Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser said: “Ealing Council has offered GEL an additional 2% uplift in the contract price to fund pay increases for 2022, but this is nowhere near enough, especially in the current economic climate. Members and their families should not be the collateral damage in the failure of Ealing Council and GEL to come to a satisfactory arrangement.”
Mr Williams added: “If Ealing Council knows it cannot meet its financial obligations and properly fund its contractors, they need to be addressing this and a good place to start would be following up on the letter that was sent to the Government in July requesting urgent funding for all Local Government Employers or risk cuts to jobs and services. Just sending a letter is not enough there needs to be action”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader of the Opposition on Ealing Council told EALING.NEWS: “Liberal Democrats believe that this episode is totally avoidable if Ealing Labour treats keyworkers with the respect they deserve. For a party that claims to be on the side of workers, it is frankly insulting that Labour are offering a minuscule 2% pay rise when the country is facing the biggest cost-of-living crisis in living memory. Key workers, like the refuse collectors, have served us during the pandemic, and deserved to be treated better than this.”
Councillor Malcolm added: “Liberal Democrats say that this latest episode, along with recent missed bin collections across Ealing borough, is another reminder of Labour’s mismanagement of waste collection services. Perhaps Ealing Labour should concentrate on improving key services before engaging in more PR exercises.”
According to GMB, the council has had many months to resolve the issue and claims the council “ignore” its members. Mr Williams said: “Any industrial dispute and disruption to services will be as a result of the failure of Greener Ealing Ltd and Ealing Council, as they have had seven months to resolve this situation. While Greener Ealing Ltd and Ealing Council continue to ignore and disrespect the needs of our members, GMB is moving ahead through the stages of industrial action. Employees cannot be expected to put up with such inept management.”
EALING.NEWS has approached Ealing Council for a comment.