Anger at pay cuts for town's binmen

Binmen are threatening strike action after being told their wages will be slashed by up to £4,500 a year.

Drivers in the refuse department at Broxtowe Borough Council are set to lose 4,500, and loaders' salaries will drop by 3,500.

Workers are poised to meet with their union, Unite, next week to talk through the appeal process and possible future strike action if nothing gets resolved.

One of the drivers, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Advertiser: "I've been at Broxtowe for years and I've seen a lot of changes but this is unfair – just terrible.

"It's a huge amount of money to take from someone's wage.

"I've got a wife and two young children.

"My wife doesn't go to work, she's a full-time mum.

"We will be just ticking over – it will be really tight.

"Some people are going to lose their mortgages over it – they'll be up to their necks in it.

"We will look at striking if nothing gets done.

"We want backing from the public and we want to stress to residents that we don't mean any harm if things get left and so on. We have to do what we can."

Drivers wages will go from 22,000 to 17,500, and loaders from 19,000 to 16,000.

Broxtowe Borough Council launched a three-year job evaluation scheme in 2006 to make salaries fair depending on responsibilities, rather than individual performance.

Last year, as part of the scheme, employees were asked to fill out a questionnaire which asked about their role and responsibilities, and each role at the council was 'scored'.

The council wrote to all its employees last week to announce the results of the evaluation, which showed the refuse department would be hardest hit.

About 24 per cent of posts will have salaries reduced, 45 per cent will have salaries increased and 31 per cent will stay the same.

Changes are due to come into force in 2011.

The leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Cllr Michael Rich, said: "In order to achieve equality for all our employees, we have been reviewing our existing grading and pay arrangements by undertaking a comprehensive job evaluation programme.

"This is not about individuals but rather about the jobs, equality and fairness. We are committed to continue helping employees through this period and are providing support and advice on job evaluation, the appeals process as well as on the skills and training they might need to help them with future career development."

The job evaluation scheme was launched following a national agreement made between local councils and the trade unions to resolve any discrepancies between the pay and conditions of employment for staff.

The council's trade unions, Unison and Unite, have been involved in the project since its inception in 2006 and they will shortly be balloting their members on whether they wish to accept or reject the proposals.

Mick Till, regional industrial organiser for Unite, said: "Next week we will see where we go from here. We are not ruling industrial action out, but everything will be above board.”

Employees will have the opportunity to appeal against the levels that their posts have been scored at and a helpline has been set up as well as a detailed intranet site and employee advice sessions.