Council disappointed by GMB union's strike action

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The GMB trade union has officially announced that its members who are responsible for providing waste collections, district cleansing and open space services will be undertaking four days of strike action in pursuit of a pay increase.

The strikes are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 28 June 2023, Wednesday 5 July 2023, Wednesday 12 July 2023, and Wednesday 19 July 2023.

The council has rejected their pay claim because pay awards, which reflect issues such as the cost of living, are handled at a national level. The workers are currently being offered £1,925 pay increase as part of the national agreement.

If the national pay offer of £1,925 is accepted for 2023/24, during the last two years pay for employees delivering these services will have increased, depending on their pay grade, by between 14.6% and 20%.

The GMB is seeking an additional 15% pay increase for the Council’s waste employees on top of whatever increase is agreed in the separate national negotiations.

Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of the Council said: "As a Council we will not be giving an additional local pay increase and see this strike action as pointless. A 15% pay increase on top of whatever is agreed nationally is not only unrealistic but unaffordable and unachievable for the local authority.

"We are pleased that a significant portion of the staff responsible for delivering these services are not party to the decision to take strike action and demonstrate their understanding that pay increases are negotiated at the national level.

"The Council continues to ensure fair pay for our workers, as we have consistently done in the past. We use policies and procedures such as job evaluations to ensure fair pay. We benchmark salaries against other councils and apply market supplements appropriately to make sure our pay is competitive.

"We strongly encourage the GMB to reconsider their approach and wait for the national negotiations to reach a conclusion.

"The Council remains fully committed to finding a resolution to this dispute in the best interests of the communities it serves. However, the announcement of strike action has raised concerns regarding compliance with established negotiating procedures. It is imperative to emphasise the importance of following the proper negotiating process, as it forms the foundation for resolving disputes. Regrettably, the actions taken by the GMB thus far have deviated from this essential protocol."

The strike action has the potential to impact refuse collection, recycling, and garden waste services. The Council will exert significant effort to minimise disruption and ensure that any inconvenience to residents and businesses is kept to an absolute minimum.

Updates on progress and any changes to service delivery will be provided as they become available.

Cllr Terry Richardson

Councillor Terry Richardson
Leader of the Council

19 June 2023