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Refuse workers ballot on strike action against Serco

REFUSE collectors at Sandwell in the West Midlands began balloting on strike action today, after bosses instructed them to ignore company safety rules to accommodate extra work.

General union GMB said extra work has been piled onto collection crews due to demand from new-build housing and the shifting of rounds to the workers from elsewhere by contractor Serco.

“This has raised serious concerns about health and safety as workers are having to cut corners to try and get work finished,” said GMB.

The union said that when it advised members to follow the company’s safe working practices, Serco “hauled workers into management meetings about their performance levels.”

GMB branch secretary Darren James said: “The bottom line is that the safety of the public and our hard-working bin collectors has got to come before saving a few quid.

“Hopefully Sandwell council and Serco will realise this and industrial action can be averted.”

Voting ends on January 6.

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