Wealden bin strikes: Arrests on the picket line

Three people were arrested on the picket lines in Hailsham today.

Waste collection and street cleansing contractor for Wealden District Council, Biffa, has had members striking since the start of the month.

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GMB said the strike is set to continue through to at least June 11 after members turned down the latest offer. The union said there was a meeting on Wednesday (May 25), between GMB and Biffa. The independent conciliation and arbitration service (ACAS) also attended the meeting, according to a spokesperson from the trade union.

Wealden bin strikes: Arrests on the picket line

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Today (Friday, May 27) reports circulated of arrests being made on the picket line at the Amberstone Depot in Hailsham.

Charles Harrity, GMB senior organiser for Southern England said, "GMB members, the majority of whom earn less than £10 an hour, working for Biffa in Wealden, East Sussex have been on strike for four weeks today.

"The protests have been peaceful throughout.

"GMB understands three of the picketers were arrested today whilst asking strike breakers not to cover the work of those fighting for better pay.

"At ACAS talks on Wednesday (May 25), GMB made a counter offer to Biffa to settle the dispute, which included major concessions and which the company rejected.

"GMB remains ready to return to talks; anytime, any place, anywhere but the refuse workers of Wealden are determined to be paid enough to feed and support themselves and their families."

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said officers were at the depot this morning.

They said, “Pickets or assemblies in trade disputes are not immune from criminal law and police have powers at their disposal to respond to any issues or breaches of the peace, including any offences of blocking the highway. However, the use of any powers must be carefully considered to ensure they are necessary and proportionate.

"When police arrived at the scene, a number of persons were blocking the highway. The officers repeatedly asked those involved to clear the highway, but some failed to comply.”

The spokesperson confirmed three men have been arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway and remain in custody at this time.

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