Chichester refuse workers being balloted for New Year bin strikes
We can’t ignore our members’ clear instruction to either negotiate a deal which recognises their own true worth or organise for industrial action, says GMB union
GMB, the union for refuse workers have announced that their workers operating within Chichester District Council are set to be balloted over low pay.
The council’s Chief Executive, Diane Shepherd has been informed that the ballot opens on Tuesday 8 November and closes on Tuesday 29 November.
The dispute centres around low pay, with the members working in street cleansing, waste and recycling services demanding pay parity with colleagues working at Adur & Worthing and Brighton & Hove Councils, who deliver similar service for significantly higher wages.
A ballot return in favour of strike action will see operatives and drivers walking out from January and possibly long into February and beyond.
Mark Turner, GMB B50 Branch Secretary said:
“GMB met with Kevin Carter, Divisional Manager of Chichester Contract Services and the council's senior HR early in October to open discussions around bringing their operatives in line with other authorities across East and West Sussex.
“Having followed that up with our members’ pay claim in mid-October, we had hoped that a response and invite to negotiate would have been more forthcoming in light of our openness in keeping the council informed every step of the way along the process.
“With no further contact however, we have moved to the next phase and perhaps this will act to remind the council that GMB will always do what it says it will.
“We are simply looking to best protect our members who only wish to see a pay increase nearer their fellow GMB members carrying out the same duties just along the coast.”
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said:
“We are clear that although we are here, ready and waiting to thrash out a deal if the council want, we can’t ignore our members’ clear instruction to either negotiate a deal which recognises their own true worth or organise for industrial action.
“We need to stress that strike action will always be the last option, but as a credible union, we need to take that option if we are ignored for too long.
“GMB aren’t going away, and they have our pay claim, so they just need to get around the table.
“The 3 weeks whilst our ballot goes ahead is the ideal time to commence talks aimed at avoiding long term disruption in the new year to all waste and recycling services for residents, especially just after the busy festive period.”
Contact Mark Turner 07860 787973 or Gary Palmer 07552 165950