Eastbourne bin strike: Union representatives block depot for third day

Union representatives from GMB have been out protesting for a third day as part of ongoing strikes over pay.

Today (Monday, January 10) the same protest has happened again with union representatives standing in front of vehicles and stopping staff from collecting refuse from homes, Eastbourne Borough Council said.

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A spokesperson for the council said, “We are working with Sussex Police and adhering to their guidance on dealing with the GMB Union blockade.

Eastbourne bin strike last week (January 7). Photo taken in Courtlands Road. SUS-221001-165021001

“On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week (January 11-13) our staff will be catching up with refuse collections. Residents should put their refuse bins out for collection. Recycling will not be collected at this time.

“It is important to make clear that only 19 out of 88 staff are on strike and the staff driving the refuse vehicles today are fully qualified and authorised to do so. Any suggestion otherwise by the GMB Union is false.”

The spokesperson said, “It is worth noting that the government pay rise offer to nurses is three per cent.

Eastbourne bin strike last week (January 7). Photo taken in Courtlands Road. SUS-221001-165010001

“When the council took over the service in 2019 all staff received a four per cent increase in pay. In 2020 pay was increased again, this time by 2.75 per cent. Additionally, there is a national pay award negotiation underway and the current offer is 1.75 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, said, “We are not preventing anyone from doing their normal job. The drivers that were attempting to go out were supervisors or mechanics and it’s not their normal job. They’re trying to do the job of striking drivers, which is unlawful and wrong so we will continue to hinder their exit from the depot.

“We will be asking members to carry out normal operational duties on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week (January 11–13). The next strike day is Friday (January 14).”

Gary said there is a meeting taking place this week with the council.

He said, “Let’s hope they come back with an improved offer and we can negotiate.”