A council's bin collectors are "furious" over heavy workloads and low pay, their union has reported.

Bin collectors employed by Serco on behalf of Breckland District Council (BDC) made their anger known at a meeting on Thursday.

At a 6.30am meeting in Watton, collectors in the UNISON and GMB unions refused to accept a pay-rise offer from Serco of 1.75pc.

It comes as thousands of households across the district have been hit by delays to their bin collections in recent months.

Independent councillor Roger Atterwill, who represents Lincoln ward, near Dereham, said in July the situation had been "absolutely appalling" since a new £230m deal began earlier this year.

%image(14426985, type="article-full", alt="UNISON Norfolk county Serco convenor Nigel Beiley said: “Breckland’s bin workers are furious at the way they’re being treated."")


UNISON Norfolk county Serco convenor, Nigel Beiley, said: “Breckland’s bin workers are furious at the way they’re being treated.

“Staff are facing heavier and heavier workloads as many of their colleagues have been driven out by the low pay.

"With inflation running near 4pc, Serco’s 1.75pc offer won’t even maintain wages at their current level.

“Breckland’s refuse staff love the work they do, but if these insulting pay offers and unmanageable workloads continue, many will simply decide to leave.”

“It’s up to Serco to sort this out for the sake of staff and Breckland residents alike.”

Asked about the possibility of industrial action, Mr Beiley said: "We're still hoping that these issues can be resolved through negotiation but if Serco can't bring an improved offer to the table workers will be left with no choice but to ballot on industrial action."

%image(14375438, type="article-full", alt="Terry Jermy, Breckland district councillor for the Thetford Burrell ward")

Terry Jermy, a Breckland councillor who leads the Labour opposition group, said: “I hope that Breckland and Serco now have a better relationship with the staff but also the union, and actually listen to their concerns and make them a fair offer, because they have seen their pay and terms and conditions impacted in an unfair way and I can entirely understand why so many staff have chosen to leave, which is never a good scenario for any organisation.”

%image(14414765, type="article-full", alt="Roger Atterwill, Breckland district councillor for the Lincoln ward, near Dereham")

Mr Atterwill said today that BDC needed to “get a grip” of the situation.

Serco were approached for comment through BDC, but failed to respond.

At a Thursday BDC full council meeting however, Serco representative Ronnie Coutts said the company was looking at addressing rates of pay, and wanted to bring in more staff, but warned this could take months.