WDC Waste collection  industrial action update

Monday 6th June 2022 – Waste collection and street cleansing industrial action update

We sincerely regret that the strike by members of the GMB union working for Biffa in Wealden continues today.

Our waste contractor, Biffa, has informed us that the GMB union have notified them of their intention to extend the strike action up to the 25th June 2022.  This is disappointing bearing in mind Biffa reiterate they remain committed to resolving this dispute and will continue to engage with representatives of the GMB union to reach a fair settlement for their employees and the residents of Wealden. 

The latest statement from Biffa is:

“We’re disappointed that the GMB has rejected our improved offer. We enhanced the offer with a proposal for a 2-year deal which included significantly above inflation increases (17% for this year and a minimum of 7% next year, a cash lump sum, and pay parity with the other two councils in the East Sussex contract.)  The offer was made following a constructive day of negotiations facilitated by ACAS and unfortunately members have chosen to continue with strike action. We are working hard to minimise any disruption to service.”

The latest deal that has been rejected by the GMB union would see pay increase by up to 17% this year plus a £600.00 guaranteed bonus with a further increase of at least 7% next year with the guaranteed bonus to be permanently included as salary . This would see annual pay levels for loader operatives at over twenty three thousand pounds, this being several thousand pounds above that of the National Minimum Wage and the higher National Living Wage, with higher paid driver roles receiving equally generous increases.  By comparison, the pay award for nurses for 2022/23 is expected to be up to 3% and State pensions are to increase by 3.1% for 2022. 

We understand that local GMB representatives have been commenting making statements regarding Biffa not engaging with them in meaningful negotiations.  Regrettably it is difficult to do so when those same representatives make statements such as “we mustn’t start negotiating until the rubbish piles up in the streets.”  Biffa have made several improved offers to end this strike, all of which have been rejected by the GMB and their members.  In contrast there has been little movement on the pay demands from the GMB.

We continue to believe our residents deserve to know this information to take an informed view on the merits of the industrial action being taken and, whether the strike is being extended unnecessarily by the GMB union.  

Today, Monday 6th June, Biffa are operating two scheduled rubbish collection rounds working in Pevensey Bay, Polegate and a small area of Hailsham.  If you live in these areas and your rubbish bin is due to be emptied Today, please ensure it is put out for collection.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 7th June, Biffa are again planning to operate two scheduled rubbish collection rounds working in Windmill Hill, Boreham Street, Wartling, Ninfield and Bodle Street Green.  If you live in these areas and your rubbish bin is due to be emptied on Tuesday, please ensure it is put out for collection.

Biffa are planning to operate further scheduled rubbish collection rounds throughout this week and they will be used to collect from as many properties and areas as possible.  However, as not every rubbish collection round due to operate next week can happen due to the strike action there will be some households that do not receive a scheduled collection this week, for which we sincerely apologise.

Again we regret there will be no recycling or garden waste collections today. 

Where residents are using their local County Council amenity tip, we kindly ask people to be kind and patient with each other and the site staff.  This comes following recent reports of verbal abuse of site staff.  We ask residents to appreciate these staff are not employed by Biffa and are not involved in the strike in any way.  They are simply working as hard as possible to ensure residents have a facility to dispose of their waste during this strike and beyond.

Please continue to check our daily updates for the latest information on collection services.