Wirral’s Labour council outsources its refuse service to Biffa Waste Services, thereby abdicating from all responsibility for this vital public service and for the nearly 200 drivers, loaders and sweepers who run it.
These refuse workers have been trying in vain to get Biffa to deal with a long-standing dispute over pay for 2019. Their frustration is made worse by the fact that Biffa cannot even be relied upon to pay the existing wage correctly, let alone agree a new one.
Serious mistakes in pay have become a regular occurrence. So when Biffa announced last November that they were going to pay a monthly salary instead of a weekly wage, workers were faced with the prospect of getting their pay screwed up over many weeks at a time.
The union (Unite) suggested to Biffa that if pay was messed up to the tune of £50 or more, payroll would undertake to sort it out within seven days, but this was rejected out of hand. So now the workers are left high and dry, still waiting for last year’s pay settlement and stuck with a payroll department playing Russian roulette with their wages.
Given the pig-headed attitude displayed by Biffa, and the abject failure of the Labour council to intervene, the workers are now balloting for a possible strike, raising the prospect of uncollected rubbish piling up on the streets of the Wirral.
Whilst the binmen have to struggle just to secure a decent wage, paid on time, it emerged from Biffa’s financial report for 2019 that one of Biffa’s directors had received no less than £1m in remuneration.