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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 11:53 GMT
Bin men strike over pay
Refuse collection
Rubbish will not be collected in five boroughs
Refuse collectors in five London boroughs are striking over their living allowance this week.

Bins will not be emptied in Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Hounslow, Lewisham and Newham.

Three dumps will be closed and there will be no street cleaning in Redbridge.

It is the latest in a series of strikes organised by the three main local government unions over London Weighting.


Why should public service workers get less compensation for the high costs of living and working in London than other public service workers?

Roger Count, GMB
Unison, the Transport and General Workers' Union and the GMB want to see all council workers across London receive 4,000 a year for the living allowance.

London Weighting currently varies for council workers depending on their job and whether they live in inner or outer London.

But the unions have been criticised for taking industrial action after a national two-year pay agreement was reached on 23 September.

Councillor Ann John, from the Greater London Provincial Council, said councils could not afford to meet the claim.

Less compensation

She said: "To meet the union's demand, councils would have to raise council tax by 90, axe 11,000 jobs or cut services.

"London councils are struggling to pay for the recently agreed pay rise for council workers across the UK."

But GMB organiser Roger Count said London Weighting was an entirely separate matter.

He said: "Local government workers get less (London Weighting) than the police, they get less than teachers, firefighters and nurses.

'High costs'

"Why should public service workers get less compensation for the high costs of living and working in London than other public service workers?

"We have still had no move from the employers and if that remains the case, then this might be the foretaste of what is to come."

London's refuse collectors earn between 17,000 and 25,000.

From October they will bring home between 1,464 and 2,751 more than colleagues across the country, say employers.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Justin Bowden, from the GMB
"Our members do a quality job providing quality services, what they don't get is quality London Weighting"

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

01 Oct 02 | England
21 Aug 02 | England
04 Jul 02 | England
14 May 02 | England
16 Jan 02 | England
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