Eastbourne bin strike: Union members block vehicles again

Some members of the union behind the Eastbourne bin collection strikes have again blocked vehicles from leaving their depot.

Eastbourne refuse collection site in Courtlands Road (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-220501-095747001
Eastbourne refuse collection site in Courtlands Road (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-220501-095747001

Some members of the union behind the Eastbourne bin collection strikes have again blocked vehicles from leaving their depot.

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An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “Their actions today (Friday, January 14) are unlawful and Sussex Police is closely monitoring the situation.

“Just 19 out of 88 staff are on strike. In addition to being unlawful, it is wholly wrong that a trade union is prepared to prevent people who want to work from collecting the refuse and recycling from local homes.

“We apologise to residents for the inconvenience this is causing but can assure everyone that we are doing everything possible to resolve this dispute.”

A third-round of face-to-face meetings between the council and GMB have been planned for Monday, January 17.

The spokesperson said, “We hope that they will reconsider our seven per cent pay rise offer for drivers and three per cent for all other staff.

“We believe this is a very generous offer in the current climate and follows other pay rises staff have received since the council took over the waste, recycling and street cleansing service.”

According to the council, a seven per cent pay rise would achieve pay parity with drivers in Lewes.

The council said in 2019 all staff received a four per cent increase in pay.

Staff also had a two point seventy-five per cent increase in pay in 2020, according to the council.

The spokesperson added, “Additionally, there is a national pay award negotiation underway and the current offer is one point seventy-five per cent.

“Annual leave was also increased to 25 days for all staff. Previously, many staff only received 20 days holiday.”

Gary Palmer, GMB regional organiser, explained how a vehicle was stopped from leaving the depot and said police spoke to GMB members.

Mr Palmer said, “Monday is the key. We have a meeting at 10.30am.

“The council keeps offering seven per cent and three per cent. They regularly keep putting that out there.

“Simply, that is not going to be acceptable to GMB members. So hopefully on Monday they are going to come down with some sort of improved offer because our position in rejecting that will not change. Our members have already rejected it.”