Wealden’s first day of strike begins on public holiday Brighton News

A UNION described the negotiations as “dishonest” after the start of the strike.

Refuse collectors employed by Biffa at Wealden District Council began their pay strike at Biffa’s depot in Amberstone Road, Hailsham this morning.

GMB, the garbage and recycling workers’ union, called Biffa’s actions ‘unprofessional’ and claimed he had moved trucks to other depots and brought in temporary workers to try to break the strike .

The union is demanding pay rises across the service which would put loaders at £12.50 per hour, LGV drivers at £14.50 per hour and HGV drivers at £17.50 per hour .

The Argus: Refuse workers at their Hailsham depot this morningRefuse workers from their Hailsham depot this morning

The strike was due to start last Monday but was called off after Biffa offered the workers a new wage deal. This offer would be below GMB’s expectations.

GMB regional organizer Gary Palmer told The Argus: “Our disappointment is in two things, the discussions we had with Biffa were very dishonest, we walked in and were seated before we were told that ‘there’s no money and this is their last offer before we’ve had a chance to negotiate.

“It is unprofessional and will certainly not bring a solution. We were hoping they would come up with a solution before the strike, that didn’t happen, but GMB is ready to discuss.”

The strike is now expected to last up to four weeks and the GMB warns of further action “if necessary”. Some 65,000 households will be affected by the strike.

Mr Palmer added: “We will publish other dates if necessary depending on whether Biffa continues to ignore us. What is really worrying, we know that they moved vehicles from both sites that were picketed to other sites.

The Argus: Photos from the recent strike in Adur and WorthingPhotos from the recent strike in Adur and Worthing

‘They moved them to Hastings which is concerning as it is another authority. This could see escalation. They are trying to break the strike by collecting from another depot.

“All it does is make the problem worse. That won’t solve it, the only thing that will solve it is to get around the table and have serious negotiations.

“If they look at Brighton, Eastbourne, even Adur and Worthing, these three authorities have tried to bluff and ignore us. It’s going to get worse, rubbish is going to start piling up in the streets even if they get out of vehicles They will not be able to provide the full service.

Biffa previously said he was in “active and ongoing” negotiations to reach a solution as quickly as possible.

Biffa was approached for further comment.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-02 09:44:47

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