Residents across Coventry are accusing their Labour run council of failing their city after an ongoing bin strike that has cost millions.
They claim the Labour run council has spent ‘over £2.8 million’ on a bin strike dispute which has been going on since January and which could have been settled for a fraction of the cost.
A group which calls themselves Coventry Confidential lit up Coventry’s famous landmarks last night (Thursday) by projecting eye catching images across the city in a bid “to expose councillors’ failings” which they say also include problems across the city with cracked and uneven pavements, potholes, fly tipping, anti-social behaviour, graffiti, discarded needles in public places and rats.
“The council just doesn’t listen… I’ve lost confidence in our councillors” said resident Kingsley Archer.
The projections appeared on landmarks such as The Elephant Building, Coventry Football Club, Coventry Council House, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry train station and Lancaster library.
The group claim the councillors have spent over £2.8 million of taxpayers’ money trying to break a strike that would cost less than £300,000 to settle.
Commenting on the failure of the recent meeting with Acas to deliver a settlement, Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said;
“Once again the council changed the ‘goalposts’ when they had a chance to reach a reasonable settlement. The meeting with Acas was a farce based on an old, discredited job evaluation system, with council officers calling the shots.”
And according to residents ‘moving the goal posts’ and not having calls answered is an ongoing problem when trying to report problems to councillors. Sarah Donaldson of Foleshill Ward said:
“The tree roots are ripping and breaking the pavements of Foleshill. It’s dangerous! People could get injuries which could land them in hospital. God knows I’ve complained to my councillors but they’ve done nothing. It’s bad enough if you’re young and able bodied but if you’re a disabled person or have small children it’s a real problem. I’ve lost confidence in my councillors.”
One local resident Glyn Davies of Sherbourne accused the council of placing lights in area which are covered up by trees:
“The council are failing us. The cycle lane is 7 months overdue, they have even situated the lighting in the trees so we can’t see properly. It has cost millions. There was not even a proper consultation. What a waste of public money.”
Kingsley Archer from Wyken ward said:
“The Junction of Brinklow Road onto Clifford bridge road is dangerous. I’ve raised it as an issue on a number of occasions. The council just doesn’t listen. There have been many accidents over the years. But a sign signalling give way to oncoming traffic would work. It would cost next to nothing compared to the millions being wasted on the bin strike. It must be six months ago I phoned the council in a bid to contact the highways department of Coventry. Someone took my details and said I would be contacted. I’ve heard nothing back. I’ve lost confidence in our councillors.”
One resident anonymously wrote:
“For years the councillors in my area have pulled up the drawbridge to local constituents. They don’t hold surgeries. You ring them and leave messages and they don’t get back to you. You email them and they ignore you. They spend their time hobnobbing with captains of industry, and other high-ups, fuelling their own egos. You can never plan a journey without being diverted or waiting for hours in traffic jams caused by road works. They are totally unaccountable to their electorate or anyone else for that matter. I for one am sick and tired of them.”
Sonny Hunter from Coventry Confidential said:
“Over the coming weeks, activists from Coventry Confidential are going to be speaking to thousands of residents. There are a lot of people who feel strongly and have lost confidence in their councillors. With the council elections just a month away councillors could lose their seats. From fly-tipping and the bin strike, to graffiti and anti-social behaviour, it’s clear that George Duggins and his Councillors are incompetent and they are failing us.”
A spokesperson for Coventry City Council said:
“The Council remains committed to lawfully resolving the ongoing strike action and what we believe are four very good offers remain on the table in attempt to do this.
“The cost of the strike so far to the Council is £1.8m, but £1.2m of this is loss of income the strike has caused. The cost of the mitigation measures put in place to minimise disruption to our residents is £600,000 so far.
“There is no supporting evidence for the rise demanded by Unite and this decision has been verified by both West Midlands Employers and independent arbitrator ACAS in separate, independent appeals. Providing additional money without supporting evidence could lead to equal pay claims of around £8m rising to £30m a year, which Unite has never been prepared to recognise even though other unions have understood this position.”