MARK Jenkinson MP has blasted the leader of Cumberland Council for prolonging the bin strikes and heaping yet more misery on his constituents.
Mr Jenkinson made the comments as we enter the fourteenth week of disruption after talks between refuse workers and Cumberland Council broke down again this week.
The binmen are asking for parity of pay with their colleagues doing the same job for the same council.
This is the third time the MP for Workington has written to Mark Fryer, reiterating his offer to facilitate talks to bring about a resolution.
Mr Fryer responded to the invitation yesterday [20th July] with a single sentence, indicating that the contents of the letter had been “noted”.
Mark Jenkinson said: “I warned last July that a failure to harmonise pay rates would lead to disruption for my constituents.
Cumberland’s council tax hike - 6.7 per cent in Allerdale, among the largest in England - raised an additional £2m in Allerdale alone.
“Cumberland Council’s efforts to undermine striking workers through the use of agency workers while not negotiating in good faith, despite knowing that they will have to harmonise rates, is prolonging the agony for families across Allerdale.
“To be clear, I think to ask the council to make a swift determination on taking waste collection directly back in-house is unfair. There is a comprehensive process to go through, and when I went through it as Deputy Leader in 2019 it couldn’t meet statutory Best Value requirements. It wasn’t in the interests of taxpayers who foot the bill (most of whom don’t get 23 per cent pension contributions being sought here).
“But the council will have to pay the lads the same across the authority, and the services will have to be harmonised quickly. And it won’t be downwards.”