Drivers from Go North East have rejected the company’s latest pay offer by a resounding 81% on a turnout of 93%. More than 1,300 Unite members are now on all-out strike action.
Strikers on the picket line outside the Gateshead depot told us how bosses had attempted to needle them by putting up notices in the depot, saying: “The lion doesn’t concern itself with the sheep”. One striker commented, “That poster probably substantially added to the vote for strike action!” Another added, “I don’t see any sheep running away from lions.”
The company’s business director, Ben Maxfield, has been dubbed “Baffled Ben” by strikers, as he is quoted in local press as being baffled as to why drivers have turned the pay deal down. Go North East bosses are clearly tone deaf to the anger felt by their workforce, who are being paid up to 20% less than their counterparts from Go North West in Manchester. As drivers pointed out, they are doing exactly the same job and working for the same parent company.
These strikers are determined to fight for fair pay and conditions.
Cardiff bin workers fight on
Cardiff Council refuse workers continue their strike for a pay rise. The current phase of strike action began on 16 October and is set to continue until 26 November.
Unite is now calling for an investigation into the council’s potential use of agency workers to undermine the strike – a criminal offence. Workers lobbied agency firm Acorn on 27 October.
Bin workers in Wrexham, also Unite members, have voted to settle a seven-week-long strike.