Eastbourne bin lorry drivers begin 11 days of strike action in row over pay

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Andy Dickenson

Bin lorry drivers in Eastbourne have gone on strike today in a dispute over pay and safety.

It's the first of 11 planned strike days over the coming weeks, which the GMB union says will disrupt rubbish collections for 50,000 residents.

The GMB Union has also launched a consultative ballot of drivers in Adur & Worthing.

Eastbourne Borough Council this morning said that the GMB were blocking their vehicles from leaving the Courtlands Road depot. The council say their actions are 'unlawful'.

The Council said Sussex Police are closely monitoring the situation.  

The council added: "Just 19 out of 88 staff are on strike.

"In addition to being unlawful, it is wholly wrong that a trade union is prepared to prevent people who want to work from collecting the refuse and recycling from local homes."

  • Gary Palmer, GMB Union

The council say its offer of a 7% pay increase remains, but the union is holding out for an offer closer to 20%.

The council also confirmed that contractors will install a new shower facility at the Courtlands Road depot along with a new welfare unit.

The union said a face-to-face negotiation is vital to talks as the lead representative, Mark Turner, is visually impaired and struggles to use Zoom and similar online platforms. 

The Council said they had offered telephone conference calls instead and are willing to meet Mark Turner in person 'as soon as he is available'.

The Borough Council says it'll hold fresh talks on Monday. It follows three strike days over the festive period.