Friday 10th June 2022 – Waste collection and street cleansing industrial action update

Friday's Update from WDC

The strike by members of the GMB union working for Biffa in Wealden continues today and at this stage industrial action is forecast until 25th June 2022. 

Although negotiations have taken place between both parties including a meeting chaired by an ACAS representative, at present there is an impasse.

Our waste and street cleansing contractor, Biffa have proposed a 2-year pay deal including 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.)  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. 

This offer provides an annual pay level for loader operatives at over £23,000.   This sum is several thousand pounds above the National Minimum Wage and the higher National Living Wage.  The driver roles are paid at a higher rate.

Although this offer achieves pay parity across our Joint Contract with Hastings and Rother Councils and achieves higher levels of pay than that offered by our neighbouring Councils at Eastbourne/Lewes, the GMB members have rejected it.

We believe it is a generous offer.

In the meantime, we are working closely with Biffa to maintain services to residents across the District. 

 

Today (Friday 10th June) The following services will be operating in full or in part:

 

  • Rubbish collection rounds in the south of the District are due to operate in Westham, Hellingly, Chiddingly, Horam and part of Hailsham. 

Approximately two thirds of the rounds scheduled to empty rubbish bins today are working.  Please put your rubbish bin out if you are due a collection today.  Disruption to rubbish collection rounds in the north of the District is limited.

If your bin 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.

  • Other services, including clinical waste and sharps box collections, bulky waste collections, bin deliveries and street litter bin and dog waste bin emptying, are operating as normal.

Please note that whilst the strike continues the amount of rubbish that can be collected by the crews is limited so they may not be able to remove some or all the extra waste if bags are placed next to the bin.  At this time Biffa are working to ensure as many households as possible receive at least a collection of the contents of the rubbish bin however, when the strike ends, a catch-up process will be implemented to remove excess rubbish.

 

The following are services that will not be operating today:

  • Some rubbish collection rounds in the south of the District.
  • Garden Waste Collections
  • Recycling Collections

 

Monday 13th June Rubbish Collections

  • Rubbish collection services in the south of the District are due to operate in Willingdon, Lower Willingdon, Punnetts Town, Rushlake Green, Warbleton, Cade Street, Chapel Cross and part of Hailsham.  Please put your rubbish bin out if you are due a collection that day. 

We appreciate that we are not able to provide a full service to you currently and please continue to check our daily updates for the latest information on collection services.  Our customer service team are busy helping people across a range of services. The most up to date information is available on our website

If you contact us or use your local County Council amenity tip, we kindly ask that you are kind and patient with each other and the staff.  This comes following recent reports of verbal abuse.  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 help manage your enquiries and ensure you have a facility where you can dispose of your waste during this strike and beyond.

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 take it back in and use the link to our questions and answers to find out what to do.

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 the strike ends and full collection services 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.

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