GMB warns of disruption to Hastings bin collections this week as Labour Council become embroiled in Wealden bin dispute

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GMB, the union for Waste, Recycling, Street Operatives and Drivers, are calling upon Hastings & Rother Labour councillors to insist Biffa immediately cease using St Leonards depot to run strike breaking agency workers.

GMB members are currently on strike at Wealden County Council Waste Services over low pay and poor terms and conditions [1]. The work they would usually be doing has this morning (2nd May) been covered by agency workers and managers working out of the St Leonards depot. The St Leonards depot is part of the Hastings Biffa contract not part of the Wealden one.

Mark Turner GMB B50 Branch Secretary said:

"To avoid sitting down to meaningful talks with GMB or improving the low pay offer already made, Biffa’s Managing Director Roger Edwards has opted to employ agency workers and to order local management back behind the wheel to seek to break his own low paid employee’s strike.

"I would understand Tory councillors getting behind anti trade union tactics by Biffa, but GMB were shocked to hear that the company had chosen to embroil Hastings and Rother’s Labour Council in the dispute by running the service from St Leonards. This will now inevitably impact on Hastings as well as Wealden's bin collections.  

"Somebody at Wealden council should learn the lessons from the Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Adur and Worthing strikes that trying to wait out or undermine GMB industrial action will make things worse in the long run."

Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser said:

"GMB have tried twice now to meet to negotiate a settlement to avoid industrial action but at least we now know why these talks weren’t taken seriously by Biffa’s MD, he was too busy plotting and spending money to avoid increasing a pay offer to his own employees. This is despite local management Trevor Elliott regularly boasting to staff that the East Sussex waste partnership contract is one of Biffa’s most profitable.

"Well robust actions by Biffa deserve robust responses by the GMB and its members and supporters, but Wealden County Council and unfortunately its residents will now have to see the rubbish pile up in the street for even longer as the Strike has been extended to 4 weeks and subject to potentially extending it even longer.

"There’s nothing new about Biffa’s anti trade union approach and GMB have seen it all before. Eventually they will get around the table to meaningfully resolve the dispute but GMB will be very disappointed if Hastings council are the reason that our members campaign is undermined."


Media enquiries: Gary Palmer 07552 165950 or Mark Turner 07860 787973 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors:

[1] The Strike action by GMB union members on the Biffa Wealden contract over low pay and poor terms and conditions commenced today Monday (May 2nd) and is scheduled to go on for 4 weeks.