The negotiations, which took place over the last few weeks, resulted in a settlement which entitles waste workers to a wage increase comparable to that offered to GMB members in the Wealden earlier this year.
As per the terms of a two-year settlement agreed by the union, HGV drivers £13.50 an hour, all other drivers will receive £11.40 an hour and loaders will receive £10.80 an hour.
As of the the second year of the settlement, workers will receive and minimum 8 per cent pay increase, subject to the terms of Biffa’s contract with Arun District Council.
Strike action was originally threatened after the union rejected an initial offer of £13.50 for drivers and £10.65 for loaders/street operatives, claiming it fell short of the pay request submitted to management, as well as pay increases offered to Biffa workers elsewhere in the country.
Although the terms of this settlement fall somewhat short of the GMB membership’s initial pay claim of £15.50 for drivers and £12.50 for loaders, GMB regional organiser Gary Palmer was happy with the outcome.
“Our members are very very happy and feel like they have some parity with other local depots” he said. “This is obviously great news and I’m glad Biffa have seen sense, but this is just the start of the journey.We will be back to secure rates of pay that keep our members out of work inequality.”
A spokesperson from Biffa said: “We’re pleased a deal has been reached with the local GMB branch which provides an above-inflation pay increase. No strike action was taken, and services will continue as normal."
Mr Palmer attributes the success of the negotiations to GMB’s track record of industrial action. The talks began in the wake of a successful six week strike in the Wealden, which resulted in a considerable pay increase for workers.
"It’s always nice when common sense is seen by an employer,” he said. “Our members are ready to strike, and we have done so before now. I think they can see that the GMB is serious and that we will do what we say we will.”