The bin strike in Wealden could continue for at least two more weeks, after the latest pay offer was rejected by the GMB Union yesterday (Thursday 26th) following a ballot of their members.
Industrial action over pay and working conditions began a month ago, when refuse workers belonging to the GMB union walked out.
The improved offer from Biffa was made during talks on Wednesday facilitated by ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
South East Today report from Wednesday (before the ballot) showing the first pop-up waste site in Hailsham:
It is understood the offer would mean a pay increase of up to 17% this year (and a minimum of 7% next year), plus a £600 performance-related bonus. Biffa have said the deal would deliver pay parity with refuse workers in Hastings and Rother, which are part of the same joint council waste contract.
The GMB Union said Biffa’s offer includes a “rehash of old money” and is about £1.50 to £2 short on what they are asking for. It said 98% of its members rejected the latest pay offer.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Officer, said:
GMB did everything we could to reach an agreement.
Unfortunately Biffa bosses don’t seem as keen as we are to end this dispute for the people of Wealden.
There are certain red lines our members will not cross.
We aren’t that far away from a deal and our door remain open, but for now on the strike will continue.
GMB would like to thank ACAS for their efforts.GMB Regional Officer
The GMB are demanding £15.50 an hour for HGV drivers, £14.50 for LGV drivers (which are the smaller cage vehicles) and £12.50 for the loaders.
The pay deal was rejected by the GMB Union, but accepted by Unison, which also has members working for Biffa.
The latest statement from Biffa is:
The Trade Union has rejected our enhanced offer which included above inflationary increases and pay parity with the other two councils in the East Sussex contract, which is disappointing. We are working hard to minimise any disruption to service while GMB members continue to strike.Biffa Statement
Wealden District Council are updating their website daily with information about which services are operating. Their advice remains to put your bin out on the day you are due a collection, and to leave it out for three working days.
In Crowborough, mixed recycling can be taken to the bring site in Croft Road car park and sorted waste and garden waste to the tip on Farningham Road (NB closed on Bank Holidays: Thurs 2nd & Fri 3rd June).