Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kirklees bin workers vote to strike after suspensions

Bin collection in Kirklees
Image caption Kirklees Council has asked the union not to strike but to work with it

Bin workers in Kirklees have voted to go on strike after six were suspended, including some for allegedly drinking alcohol while on duty.

Unison members voted 94% in a ballot for industrial action, the union said.

Any potential strike could affect Huddersfield and Dewsbury but would not take place until next year.

Kirklees Council said it had not been formally told of the ballot and described the union's action as "disappointing".

Paul Holmes, Unison's Kirklees branch secretary, said it was "history repeating itself".

Claims of discrimination and victimisation had led to threats of industrial action by bin workers last year.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Paul Holmes, Unison's Kirklees branch secretary, said it was "history repeating itself"

Other incidents under investigation this year include a collision between a car and a bin lorry, and a refuse wagon reversing into a line of green bins, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

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The latest vote had a turnout of 89%, Unison said.

"Members just want to come to work and do their jobs", Mr Holmes added.

A council spokesperson said: "There are a number of disciplinary cases on-going within our waste collection service.

"This has resulted in six members of staff being suspended, which is not something we do lightly."

The council made "no apology for taking robust action" over health and safety issues and said five cases had come after reports by members of the public.

All the cases are still subject to investigation and the council asked the union not to strike but to work with it.

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