Wealden bin strike ends with “massive pay deal” for workers


Industrial action involving GMB members has ended after waste and street cleansing workers accepted a pay offer.

Members of the GMB Union employed by Wealden District Council’s contractor Biffa have been on strike since 2nd May

The GMB has said the total value of the settlement is worth between 24 and 27 per cent, depending on which job they do.  

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said:

The acceptance of this latest offer is a testament to our members’ strength and determination to get the very best deal possible for themselves, and rightly so because hard work needs its rewards, and whilst it’s one of the most visible services a council provides, it’s also one of the most unappreciated until it stops. 

Their job is unpleasant and dirty at the best of times.  If they didn’t already value their refuse collectors, we would hope that residents of Wealden have come to appreciate them over the past 6 weeks. 

GMB are through disputes like this pushing pay levels to a point where in-work poverty is a thing of the past.  It’s a journey that can be started in any workplace and by any resolute workforce, with the help of GMB union. 

You just need to want to take the first step, if you do then we will be there to support you.

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser

Wealden District Council said it would like to thank its residents for their ‘patience and understanding during this difficult time’.

It added that while rubbish collections will resume today (Wednesday), recycling and garden waste collections will resume from Thursday (16th June). They encourage householders to check their website for service updates while Biffa works to catch up on collections.

A Biffa spokesperson said:

We’re pleased a deal has been accepted and that services will return to normal.

Biffa spokesperson


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  1. Funny that the media claim the refuse collectors had a ‘massive’ payout. My dustman, who’s in the GMB and cross with them (the union rejected a similar deal to those won by colleagues in Rother and Hastings, thus prolonging the strike), tells me that in the end all they got was a £500 bonus. He is also angry with Wealden, which is quite understandable. We stood on our doorsteps and clapped these essential workers during lockdown. They deserved better pay and conditions.

    • Jane It is not the media claiming workers have had a “massive” payout – but the GMB. It could be argued that it is in the Union’s interest to “big-up” the success of the industrial action – after all they probably want to recruit more members and strengthen their bargaining potential (not just for refuse workers but the other sectors they represent).

      From what your dustman is telling you – the final settlement in Wealden must have been better than the one achieved by workers in neighbouring authorities (so was it more than just a one off £500 bonus?). Stephan@CrowboroughLife.com


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