Eastbourne bin strike: Council offers pay rise

Refuse workers in Eastbourne have been offered a pay rise by the council amid bin collection strikes in the town.

GMB members had taken industrial action on December 31 and are also planning to strike on January 7, January 10 and for a week starting on January 14.

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “We met with the GMB Union yesterday (Wednesday, January 5) and offered a seven per cent increase in pay to drivers and three per cent to all other South East Environmental Services Limited (SEESL) staff.

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“In line with the GMB Union’s request, we also confirmed that we are replacing the small tea hut with a larger welfare unit where staff will be able to meet up before shifts, make a drink and leave their belongings.”

Eastbourne refuse collection site in Courtlands Road (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-220501-174726008

The council said when it took over the service in 2019 all staff transferred from Kier to SEESL.

The spokesperson added, “SEESL is the company set up by the council to deliver waste, recycling and street cleansing services in Eastbourne.

“At the time of our takeover, all staff received a four per cent increase in pay. In 2020 pay was increased again, this time by two point seventy-five cent. Additionally, there is a national pay award negotiation underway and the current offer is one point seventy-five per cent.

“With the above in mind, we believe this latest offer of a seven per cent increase for drivers and three per cent for all other SEESL staff is very generous and hope it will be accepted.

“It is worth noting that the government’s current pay rise offer for nurses is just three per cent.”

The council said it is ‘extremely proud’ of the work done by all staff during the pandemic, especially the SEESL team.

Along with an increase in pay since 2019, the council said annual leave has also been increased to 25 days for all staff – as previously many workers only received 20 days holiday.

The spokesperson added, “Provisions for sick pay entitlements have also been enhanced since SEESL took over.

“The council has also invested in the Courtlands Road depot, delivering improvements welcomed by the GMB Union.

“We hope that the GMB Union will recognise that we have always acted in the best interests of all our staff.”

GMB has been contacted for a comment.