Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 June 2009

Bristol refuse workers strike

"We don't want to go on strike, but you've got to stand up for your rights" explained one of the striking refuse collectors in Bristol to Socialist Party members on the picket line.

The workers were contracted out from Bristol City council to French firm Sita, whose main interests are profits. Unite, the union the 271 workers belong to, entered talks back in November for their 2007/08 pay award. "Maybe we were greedy" questioned the Unite official, by asking for 5% when inflation was only at 4.75%, yet Sita refused to even discuss it and offered only 2.75% - an insulting pay cut for the Sita workers.

Sita has agreed to three meetings since then, with no pay award forthcoming. The third meeting was after the workers balloted and decided to go for strike action. But only as long as the strike was called off.

The union immediately called off the strike, keen to sort out the dispute. After two hours of conversation, going round in circles with no mention of pay, the convenor realised this was just a ploy to get the rubbish collected that day and left.

The workers aren't giving up though. With a rolling strike on Friday 29 May and Monday 1 June, with only a couple of workers crossing their picket lines at the two main depots in Bristol, they are hopeful. "We need to get our message to the general public," the convenor explained on the picket line. They certainly did this on Friday with almost 300 workers descending on the Council House, demanding that the council sits up and take notice.

Although the work is contracted out to Sita, the council pays for the service and could easily take the service back in-house. Yet this is part of the broader programme to privatise as many of the public services as possible, making massive profits for big business, but with continual cuts in wages and conditions for the workers and year on year increases in council taxes for the public to pay for the companies.

  • Messages of support can be sent to the striking workers via Pam Jennings, Bristol Unite, Transport House, Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6AY.
  • Sheila Caffrey

    Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

    In The Socialist 5 June 2009:

    Action to defend union rights

    Visteon pensioners battle on

    Vauxhall jobs threat - unions must organise a fightback

    Workplace news and analysis

    Royal Mail sell-off - Time for action!

    Fast news

    Tube workers vote to strike

    Bristol refuse workers strike

    Battling against the blacklist

    Glasgow care workers' success

    Socialist Party election campaign

    Prepare now for next election challenge

    European elections: Putting forward a workers' alternative

    A Question Time carve up

    Challenge these disgraced MPs

    A Parliament of celebrities and a speaker of integrity


    Aston University socialists fight for student democracy

    Sussex University: Save Linguistics campaign

    Socialist youth conference and protest

    Youth Fight for Jobs: Fortnight of action 27 June to 10 July

    Socialist Party feature

    NATO anniversary: 60 years of aggression and terror

    Socialist Party review

    The Frock-Coated Communist: the revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels

    Marxist analysis: history

    Tiananmen Square 1989: Counter-revolution crushes China's democracy movement


    Home   |   The Socialist 5 June 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

    Subscribe   |   Donate  

    Related links:


    triangleDemand for no-cuts budget grows

    triangleThousands march - mayor needs real anti-cuts strategy

    triangleBristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!

    triangleHow much reserves have councils got?

    triangleBristol South Socialist Party: 150 years of Marx's Das Capital

    Refuse workers:

    triangleStreet cleaners support the Birmingham bin strike

    triangleRefuse workers strike against bullying bosses

    triangleWorkplace news in brief

    triangleBin workers strike against 'regime of fear'


    triangleWorkers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

    triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

    triangleStriking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University


    triangle'Pay the rate' construction protests continue on Teesside

    triangleBin workers calling indefinite strike brought results


    triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses


    triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


    triangleWorkplace news in brief

    Reports and campaigns

    Reports and campaigns



    'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


    Democratic rights

    Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?



    Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


    South West Wales

    Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



    Uprising to save the NHS!



    Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


    East London

    No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


    North London

    North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



    Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University



    Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems


    Royal Mail

    Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



    Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



    PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap



    Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


    Local government

    Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

    triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

    Join the Socialist Party
    Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
    Donate to the Socialist Party

    triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

    triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

    triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

    triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

    triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

    triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

    triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

    More ...

    triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

    triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

    triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

    triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

    More ...

    Socialist Party Facebook page
    Socialist Party on Twitter
    Visit us on Youtube



    October 2017

    September 2017

    August 2017

    July 2017

    June 2017

    May 2017

    April 2017

    March 2017

    February 2017

    January 2017




















    SP RSS feed RSS

    Platform setting: = No platform choice