Coventry bin drivers say they have gone from ‘hero to zero’ in recent months as they began four more days of strikes to demand more pay.

The industrial action has intensified, with a four-day strike from Tuesday until Friday, January 14, after a two-day strike last week. Many people beeped their horns as they passed the striking workers on the first day of the strike.

The bin lorry drivers are striking in a row over pay – with union Unite saying employees are paid ‘poverty wages’, with some left unable to afford medical care.

READ OUR LIVE UPDATES ON THE BIN STRIKE HERE

The council has refuted this, claiming some are paid more than £50,000 a year.

When CoventryLive visited the picket line at the council’s Whitley depot on London Road, there were chants from striking bin drivers of “Unite, Unite, we stand up and we fight.”

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Unite regional officer Simon O’Keeffe told CoventryLive: “This has been brewing for about three years where the union has been talking to the council about Christmas working and terms and conditions. Unfortunately it came to a head towards the end of last year. Industrial action is the very last thing that we ever want to do.”

Referring to the drivers standing behind him as he spoke, Mr O’Keeffe said: “A few of them feel like they’ve gone from hero to zero from the pandemic to now.”

Mr O’Keeffe confirmed that Unite and Coventry City Council did sit down in talks today (January 11).

Both Unite and Coventry City Council say they are maintaining a dialogue to find a resolution as soon as possible.



Bin lorry drivers and supporters picketing outside the Coventry Whitley Depot on January 11
Bin lorry drivers and supporters picketing outside the Coventry Whitley Depot on January 11

Last week Coventry City Council leader George Duggins told CoventryLive they are working to negotiate on a refuse service that they can feel “proud to offer the city.”

Mr O’Keeffe added: “The ideal outcome is to reach a resolution so these guys can get back to work and refuse collections can continue as normal.”

A total of 98.5% of Coventry bin drivers balloted to strike, and there was a feeling of high morale on today’s picket line, with many passing cars beeping their horns in support.

But there has been widespread anger from Coventry residents, with reports of rubbish piling up across the city.

The city council has organised six drop-off sites across the city where people affected can take their rubbish.

More than 35,000 people have used these sites since they first opened on Wednesday, December 29.

But the council has come under fire for saying they won’t be picking up extra rubbish when the bin strikes cease.

The strike is set to continue until this Friday (January 14).

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