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 28th May 2022.  This is disappointing bearing in mind Biffa reiterate their commitment to resolving this dispute and continue to engage with representatives of the GMB union to reach a fair settlement for their employees and the residents of Wealden. 

Whilst 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, disappointingly the GMB union have rejected the latest increased pay offer from Biffa, despite members of the Unison union accepting. The offer was to pay the staff in Wealden the same as those working in Rother & Hastings. As it is a joint contract between Wealden, Rother & Hastings Councils, that seemed a fair approach. This is also the same offer which was accepted by the GMB union and its members in Hastings and Rother only a few weeks ago. At that time, the GMB described the settlement as a “whopping pay deal” as it saw pay increases of between 8% and 20% for all the staff in those areas. By comparison, the pay award for nurses for 2022 is expected to be up to 3% and State pensions are to increase by just 3.1%. 

It is also disappointing that the GMB 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 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.