Refuse Workers Should Be “Treated With Respect” – GMB

GMB Union says refuse workers should be treated with the respect they deserve as it highlights the 50% increase in refuse worker deaths.

GMB says there are one thousand cases of dangerous driving that risks the lives of refuse workers every day, when they’re “just trying to do their jobs”.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “We all rely on refuse collections to keep our cities, towns and villages clean and safe.

“But refuse workers are literally risking their lives coming into work each day – it’s one of the most dangerous jobs you can do.

“In this sweltering heat, it doesn’t get any easier. It’s an incredibly tough job, but despite the graft they put in, refuse workers have seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011.

“Our refuse workers desperately need a pay rise, but alongside that they need the police, courts and general public to treat them with the respect they deserve.”

“Our refuse workers desperately need a pay rise, but alongside that they need the police, courts and general public to treat them with the respect they deserve.”

The average earnings of the UK’s refuse workers is just over £19,000 a year  – and has plummeted 7.4% in real terms since 2011, according to GMB.

Mr Roache added: “The law of the land should come down hard on anyone putting our members’ lives at risk or threatening their safety.

“They’re just trying to do a job and look after the rest of us.”

Deaths among refuse workers have increased 50% according to the latest HSE figures – 12 people died in the waste sector last year; up from 8 the year before.

This does not include asbestos related illness, suicide, or people killed because of a workplace activity so the figure is likely to be much higher, GMB says.

It says workers in the sector face many hazards but one of the most worrying is that a massive 360,000 incidents of dangerous or reckless driving that are reported by refuse workers every year.

Video footage released by Biffa shows refuse workers diving for cover as reckless drivers mounts pavements, curbs and grass verges to get round bin lorries making rubbish collections.


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