UK's mediation service in Worthing for talks on bin strike

Released: Thursday, 31 March 2022

The UK's industrial dispute mediation service ACAS is today at Worthing Town Hall trying to help find a way to resolve the GMB union bin strike.

At the invitation of Adur & Worthing Councils, ACAS officials are hoping to hold meetings with the GMB and UNISON and also officials from the Councils.

With week three of the strike underway, the Councils are hoping separate talks with all parties could bring a resolution. However it is not known if UNISON, which is the recognised union across all Councils services, will attend. It has made an official complaint to the union umbrella body the Trades Union Council about the conduct of the GMB local leadership.

A spokesman for the Councils said:

“It is important to recognise that ACAS is an independent body of mediation experts who we very much hope will be able to help us find a solution to this damaging strike. We have done everything we can to find a way through this dispute which is fairly unique in that an incoming union to a place of work is challenging an existing union for the right to negotiate on pay and conditions.

“We have always respected our staff's right to join a union of choice but there are guidelines and legal parameters in place on official recognition that simply cannot be ridden roughshod over. We hope we can navigate these difficult waters quickly.”

He added that officers were working on further measures to mitigate the pressure on residents which would be announced soon.

What we know so far:

  • After a review of pay and conditions within the waste services department commenced in October last year a deal was agreed which would see all workers get at least a six per cent pay rise and HGV drivers would receive at least 12.7 per cent.
  • These rises made pay rates higher than many other councils and were even higher than the GMB settled for after striking in Eastbourne.
  • In late December the GMB contacted the Councils for the first time and threatened industrial action if they did not talk.
  • UNISON has a recognition agreement with the Councils to negotiate on pay and conditions across all services.
  • To find a way forward the Councils asked UNISON to sit down in talks with them and GMB to agree a joint recognition agreement at waste services. Only this way could the GMB be involved in pay and conditions negotiations.
  • After first agreeing, UNISON officials decided the actions of GMB leadership could no longer be tolerated and made a complaint to the TUC. This is ongoing.
  • The Councils agreed to continue with plans to invite the government body Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to help find a way forward.

See also:

PR - Waste truck in Shoreham

(PR22-075)

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Page last updated: 25 November 2022

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