AN UNOFFICIAL bin strike was launched this week... but it was done and dusted in just two hours.
Angry refuse collectors at Hyndburn Council's depot in Brown Street, Accrington, went out on strike first thing on Monday morning in protest at alleged bad treatment from managers.
But they returned to work following emergency talks with council bosses.
Sandy Cox, Transport and General Workers' Union branch secretary, sat in on the meeting, during which she said the binmen produced a list of of grievances.
She said: "Morale is extremely low. However, we have an agreement to resolve the problems and an understanding with management that they will talk with us more and reach a new agreement for next year."
"It wasn't one final straw that broke the camel's back. The binmen just reached the stage of having enough of being pushed about. They felt they were not receiving the recognition they deserve."
The binmen claimed they were ordered to use their own mobile phones to contact the depot rather than the cab-radios, that workers who had been sick with industrial injuries had been threatened with the sack, and that "bully-boy" tactics were frequently employed.
Union steward Tom Bennett said: "They are running the service into the ground. We want to apologise to the public for the service they're receiving but extra work has been foisted upon us and we only have 20 workers, insufficient to do everything demanded of us. Yet we have five supervisors and four managers."
"Last Christmas they were supposed to employ another 10 workers but they were pulled because of the cash crisis. We serve 37,000 homes a week, walking about 12 miles for each shift, but we are up against management's really bad attitude."
A council spokesman denied the claims made against managers, saying: "Over the past 18 months the waste collection service has experienced major change as a result of new initiatives aimed at increasing recycling, minimising waste and introducing wheelie bins."
"While we recognise that it can take time for some employees to get used to the new working practices, the fact is that most staff have responded very positively and we are confident that any reservations can be dealt with as the new practices bed in."