Wirral bin collectors walk out over social distancing

Bin workers in Wirral refused to work today over coronavirus safety fears.

The council’s outsourced refuse staff walked out, as their union Unite claimed that Biffa – the company that employs them – has failed to respect social distancing and the health concerns of workers.

Unite said Biffa is still instructing crews of up to three workers to share a cab on their collection rounds.

The union – the biggest in the UK and Ireland, added that workers have fought for more than a fortnight to get Biffa to put strict social distancing measures in place, but says Biffa has failed to do so.

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Unite said this was at odds with measures taken in other areas, which ensured bin workers were appropriately spaced out.

Unite regional officer Steven Gerrard said: “For over a fortnight Unite has been trying to ensure that Biffa introduced measures to protect our members and they have failed to do so.

“We have been calling for an urgent meeting to find a safe workable solution to our member’s health concerns, but these calls have been ignored.

“Our members have informed us that enough is enough and they will not continue to have their health and the health of their families placed at needless risk.

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“Residents of the Wirral will be alarmed that their refuse workers, who are playing a key worker role, are being treated with such disregard.

“Other councils and contractors have introduced measures to ensure social distancing, it is not rocket science and Biffa must take immediate measures to ensure the safety of its workforce.”

The union also said this walkout is unconnected to the separate dispute over pay.

Both Biffa and Wirral Council have been approached for comment.