Laura Sharman 08 April 2020

Refuse workers in Wirral walk out over coronavirus fears

Refuse workers in Wirral walk out over coronavirus fears image

Refuse collectors in Wirral have refused to work after claiming Biffa Waste Services failed to introduce strict social distancing measures.

The workers, who are members of trade union Unite, say their employer has failed to take safety concerns seriously and is instructing up to three crew members to share a cab on refuse rounds.

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.'

A spokesperson for Biffa said: 'We strongly refute Unite’s claim that we have failed to take the health concerns of our employees seriously. We have worked proactively and closely with the union over the recent weeks and have given their union representatives direct access to the Wirral site manager, which has ensured regular and close dialogue.

'We are closely monitoring and strictly following the guidance set out by both Public Health England (PHE) and the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH). We are confident that we are adhering to the expert advice given to our industry and all reasonable and practical measures are being taken at our Wirral site.'

Biffa Waste Services operates outsourced refuse collection service for Wirral Council.

One year on, councils will be central to recovery image

One year on, councils will be central to recovery

After an extraordinary year, council staff are exhausted, worn down and facing further cuts, says Heather Jameson. But she has no doubt they will continue to rise to the challenge 'whether it is in an office, at home or on a laptop anywhere'.
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