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

Monday update from WDC

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, Bodle Street Green, Polegate and a small area of Hailsham.  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.

Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by this situation and thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this time.

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. 

You may have a few questions so please see our list of questions and answers to explain what is happening and why, what the impact may be and, what you can do.

Some regular questions are:

Should I put my bin out? Please put your bin out as normal on the scheduled collection day however, 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 bring it back in as we regret we will not be able to return to the missed bin until the next scheduled collection day.
When will my bin be emptied? If your bin is not emptied, 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 to our  questions and answers to find out what to do.
Will you collect side waste when they return to work? Yes. When collections resume, we will for a short period of time collect side waste to help clear the backlog. For extra recycling, please place it in non-black bags beside the bin. Please ensure recycling has been rinsed clean so that it is free from any remains of food or drink.
Can I put recycling or garden waste into my rubbish bin? No. Rubbish bins are only for non-recyclable household waste.  If they contain recycling or garden waste, they will not be emptied.
Can I take waste to the local tip?

Yes, the four tips (Household Waste Recycling Sites) in Wealden run by East Sussex County Council are open as usual. Please check their website for locations, opening hours and site restrictions. https://new.eastsussex.gov.uk/

Please note, for recycling waste some items may need to be separated into individual containers at the tip.

Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by this situation and thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this time.

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