Eastbourne bin strike ends in 'massive win' for refuse workers as date collections to restart shared

Bin collection are set to resume as strike action by refuse workers in Eastbourne comes to an end, after the GMB union accepted a significant pay rise offer from the council.

HGV bin lorry drivers had already taken six days of industrial action, and were set for eight more walk outs in the coming weeks, in a dispute regarding pay and working conditions.

The offer includes a minimum rise this year of 11 % and a guarantee their hourly rate will reach a minimum of £13.50 per hour in April 2023 - effectively a 19% rise for the lowest paid.

The union has hailed the outcome as a win for Eastbourne's refuse collectors.

  • Eastbourne refuse workers on strike:

Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said: “GMB members have flexed their industrial muscle and got the above inflation pay rise they deserve. 

"The people of Eastbourne have backed them all the way – despite the inconvenience they've had to face. 

"Other employers should take note, GMB members know their own worth and are not scared to take bosses on.” 

Refuse workers were due to take part in another eight days of strike action

In a statement, Eastbourne Borough Council said: "The GMB Union has confirmed that a new offer that includes a flat rate of £12.50 an hour for all drivers has been accepted.

"While we were not prepared to meet the unrealistic demands made by the GMB Union, we believe this is a fair and appropriate award for our staff.

"The highest paid drivers will receive a 5% increase and the lowest paid drivers 15%. 

When will Eastbourne bin collections restart?

The council statement added: "All staff will return to work tomorrow (Wednesday 19 January). Our teams will be catching up with collections as quickly as possible. 

"We’d like to thank our residents for their understanding and patience during this dispute."

  • Rubbish piles up in Brighton's streets after refuse workers went on strike:

This is the second time refuse workers have gone on strike in Sussex in recent months.

In October, 13 days of industrial action in Brighton led to rubbish piling up in the streets.

That dispute ended when the GMB union accepted an above inflation pay rise from the council.