WDC Waste collection and street cleansing industrial action update

The strike by employees of our waste and street cleaning contractor, Biffa, and whom are members of the GMB union, has continued today.

Our waste contractor, Biffa, have informed us that the GMB union have notified them of their intention to extend the strike action up to the 11th 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. 

For this process to be successful however it requires genuine commitment from both Biffa and the GMB union and we are concerned by the statement from the GMB union which has announced its intention to prevent Biffa from providing services to domestic households in Wealden with a GMB union regional officer stating “we mustn’t start negotiating until the rubbish piles up in the streets.”

We remain hopeful Biffa and the GMB union are able to reach a settlement before this date and bring the strike to an end sooner however, disappointingly the GMB union rejected the latest increased pay offer from Biffa.  This offer submitted by Biffa would have provided pay equality across the Joint Waste Partnership area of Wealden, Hastings and Rother.

This is the same offer which was accepted by the GMB union and its members in Hastings and Rother only a few months ago in February and enabled pay increases of between 8% and 20% for the various job roles involved in the dispute.  At that time, the GMB union regional organiser union described the settlement as a “whopping pay deal” so it is difficult to understand why they are not now recommending acceptance of this same offer, which comes with an additional performance bonus, for the immediate benefit of their members doing the same jobs in the Wealden area.  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 believe our residents deserve to know this 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.  

The following are services that will be operating in full or in part today: 

  • Rubbish collections – Approximately half of the rounds scheduled to empty rubbish bins today are working.  Please put your rubbish bin out if you are due a collection today. If it is not emptied please leave it in place for three working days as efforts are being made to catch up on missed rubbish collections.  If its remains uncollected after this, please take it back in and use the link below to our questions and answers to find out what to do.
  • Clinical waste and sharps box collections – operating as normal
  • Bulky Waste Collections – operating as normal
  • Bin deliveries and exchanges – operating as normal
  • Street litter bins and dog waste bins – some disruption to services

The following are services that will not be operating today: 

  • Approximately half of the rubbish collections (see above)
  • Garden Waste Collections
  • Recycling Collections

We appreciate this is an inconvenience and concern to residents and we apologise for this situation while Biffa and the GMB union work to reach a fair settlement.