STRIKE action remains an option for council waste, recycling and street service employees as negotiations continue over pay.

BCP Council is currently working to restructure its pay and reward arrangements after the formation of the unitary authority in 2019.

As reported, members of the GMB union at the Southcote Road and Hatchpond depots were balloted over potential strike action, due to concerns about visibility of individual pay outcomes within the offer.

Nick Day, GMB senior organiser, said: “We balloted our members about the pay and regrading and specifically the lack of transparency, and the members let us know that they were prepared to take strike action.

“BCP Council have responded positively and they immediately started the process of addressing our members' concerns by adding it as an agenda item for a forthcoming council meeting.

“We await the results of any discussion and will be led by our members as to whether any outcome is acceptable to end this dispute, which remains ongoing and with a live mandate for strike action.”

An update on the pay and reward restructuring will be discussed at a meeting of the overview and scrutiny board on Tuesday, July 16.

Documents on the agenda item on the council’s website say the authority believes it has created ‘the best, affordable offer with positive outcomes for the majority of colleagues’.

This, the council said, would see 82 per cent of employees would have an increase in pay, or see their pay stay the same.

The local authority said the GMB and UNISON unions ‘agreed the proposed offer is the best offer they are likely to achieve, having negotiated, explored and exhausted numerous options’.

Both unions balloted their members, with 57 per cent of UNISON members voting to accept the offer, while only 13 per cent of GMB members voted to accept it.

An enhanced offer was then drawn up, with 29 per cent of GMB members voting to accept this.

While the second ballot was undertaken, GMB also balloted members over strike action, with 66 votes to 21 voting in favour of strike action, and 74 votes to 12 in favour of action short of strike.

The council has now committed to release the pay outcomes for employees in September of this year.

It added its preferred outcome would be an agreement through discussions with the unions, saying this was a ‘key priority’.