Bin strike: Councils question GMB motives for calling all out bin strike despite generous pay deal accepted by recognised union

Released: Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Fresh details have today been released by Adur & Worthing Councils which raise serious questions about why the GMB union has taken strike action bringing serious disruption to refuse collection services across the area.

The information includes proof that a pay deal offered by the Councils is already superior to that in place in other local authorities in Sussex. As the strike enters its second day the GMB union has refused for the ninth time to meet Councils to discuss its demands. The authorities are still in the dark about what it wants for its members.

In further developments the Councils have:

  • Produced this graph (see below) which shows the existing offers are higher than elsewhere
  • Produced evidence that the GMB took strike action in another council areas but settled for a deal that pays less than the one already on offer at Adur and Worthing
  • Reached out again to the GMB for talks but have been rejected

PR22-060 - waste pay graph

  • Rates used are “middle of the pay scale” averages using data from 3 comparator authorities
  • Rates used are AFTER recent deals agreed by the GMB at two of the comparator councils
  • A&W HGV Phase Leaders (a unique role at A&W) are all top of grade and are on £16.18. A comparator council’s HGV Driver Supervisors are on £16.17 even at top of grade and with overtime and bank holiday supplements included

The strike has resulted in all bin collection services being halted except for clinical waste and a partial cleansing service. In total 44 members of staff at the refuse, recycling and cleansing service voted for strike action. The total number of staff at the depots is 151.

A spokesman for Adur & Worthing Councils said:

“Given the number of facts that are emerging it will be increasingly difficult for our residents to understand why this action is taking place, causing unnecessary stress and environmental issues within our community.

“How can the GMB be taking strike action when a better deal is on the table for all our staff than that for which they settled elsewhere in the county? Whatever is happening, and it appears on the surface to have little to do with pay grades, we, and more importantly residents, appear to have been caught up in it

“However we have to take a position on behalf of all our staff across all services. This kind of aggressive approach hardly bodes well for future dealings with the GMB and the efficiency and effectiveness of the waste service.

“But there is still time for a rethink. We continue to urge staff to return to work so that we can have constructive talks aimed at finding a solution.”

UNISON is the recognised union across all Councils' services and has worked with them to develop a deal for staff that sees rises of more than 6% on top of a national backdated pay award of 1.75%. The Councils' HGV drivers have been given pay rises of more than 12.7%.

In total 65 members of staff have been moved up a pay grade and a further 40 who are required to drive HGVs regularly as part of their role will get a permanent annual £2,700 specialist skills supplement. Four more will get both the annual specialist skills supplement and be moved up a grade.

The review of pay and conditions began in October after recognition of the efforts of crews during lockdowns. The GMB contacted the Councils in December. The strike action is due to last two weeks.

See also:

PR - Waste truck in Shoreham

(PR22-060)

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Page last updated: 25 November 2022

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