Posts Tagged ‘SITA’

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Striking bin men try to embarrass new Lib Dem council

June 5, 2009

Bristol’s striking bin men staged a protest on College Green on Friday to coincide with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s visit to the city.

They are continuing their series of one-day strikes in the long-running dispute over pay. They have rejected a pay offer of 2.75% and are believed to want around 3.5%.

About 100 refuse collectors, drivers and street cleaners belonging to the Unite union gathered outside the council house on Friday lunchtime.

They waved placards, sang protest songs and attempted to disrupt Clegg’s congratulatory speech to victorious councillors.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg congratulates Bristols Barbara Janke

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg congratulates Bristol's Barbara Janke

Union leader Pam Jennings also claimed the council’s tactic of bringing in temporary workers to cover those taking strike action would not work.

She said: “I understand that nobody had told the people drafted in that they were breaking a strike. So quite a few of them have turned round and gone home.

“We also believe some of them are agency workers. It’s illegal to fetch in agency workers in this way and we will be notifying the agency that they are breaking the law by being complicit in this action.”

The council’s current advice to householders is to put their waste and recycling out as normal on their usual day. They have said they will now prioritise collecting green and garden waste.

The council’s waste contractor SITA says it’s pay offer of 2.75% is “very fair” in the current economic climate. It has also agreed to further talks with arbitration.

The Unite union is currently balloting its members on whether to take part in the talks. The result should be known on Monday.

Friday’s protest was a reminder to council leader Barbara Janke that running the city council will not be easy, despite her new majority.

Speaking after her election victory, she said: “I don’t think we have hidden behind not having a majority in the past.

“When we were in power we delivered on swimming pools, on the budget, on reducing council tax, on waste disposal and recycling and that was in barely two years.

“We have a record and we just need the opportunity to deliver that.”

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Bristol City Council paints over £5k street art

May 12, 2009

Community activists in Stokes Croft say they’re “gutted” after council workmen painted over a piece of street art valued at £5,000.

The painting of an angel by Bristol artists Cheo and 3Dom had been sprayed on boards covering a building at the corner of Stokes Croft and Hillgrove St.

The artists are described as Bristol “graffiti royalty” and both recently had work shown in the Crimes of Passion exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy.

The building was privately owned and the landlord, who lives in London, had given permission for the mural to be sprayed on it.

Chris Chalkley from community group The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft told Original: “We heard last Thursday that the council were going to paint it out.

“We informed the council on Friday that it was not an illegal piece of graffiti and had been sanctioned by the landowner. But council contractors SITA painted it out on Monday.”

Chris also claims the council’s destruction of the work could be regarded as criminal damage, because the painting had permission from the owner.

He said: “In a word, people around here are gutted. But, there is also a resignation, which is even more sad.

“People expect the council to behave in this manner. They are not surprised and that has got to change. It has got to change that we have such low expectations of the people who are put in power to serve us.”

Chris is calling on people to email the council’s Chief Executive Jan Ormondroyd directly to complain.

Bristol City Council said: “The council will investigate and review the circumstances once all the facts are known.”

Audio: Martin Jones interviews Chris Chalkley from the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft

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