Worthing bin strike ends after six weeks as unions accept new pay offer

A long-running strike by refuse collection workers in Adur and Worthing has ended after a pay offer was accepted.

Members of Unison and the GMB union voted to accept a new offer which will see members receive a pay rise of between 8% and 20%.

The GMB said the pay deal will mean an increase of 8.2% for refuse loaders and 10.4% for cleansing drivers, while some HGV drivers will receive 20.7%.

Regional organiser Gary Palmer said: "This is a tribute to our members and their dedication and determination to win an award that properly reflects the hard work they put in every day, and especially over the last two years.

"Now they have a deal which is not below inflation, but instead reflects market rates for this sort of work and keeps them ahead of the cost-of-living crisis.

Workers in the councils' refuse, recycling and street cleansing department have been taking industrial action since February, with rubbish seen piling up along the town's streets over the last few weeks.

The latest pay offer also includes better weekend and bank holiday pay, but the GMB union says it will strike again if the commitments are not met.

A spokesman for Adur & Worthing Councils said, "We are pleased that all parties have found a way to end this strike and thank residents and businesses for their patience during this difficult time.

"At all times we have sought to find a way to recognise the excellent work staff at this service undertake while being mindful that our budgets are tight and that we also have to protect other services.

"We think we can do that with this deal which gives extra remuneration for staff.

"What we and our staff want to do now is continue the catch-up to remove the backlog from our streets as soon as possible. We will be reaching out shortly to our commercial customers who have had to seek alternative arrangements during the strike and we will be working on reestablishing green waste collections as soon as practicable after the backlog of residual and recyclable waste has been tackled."

Under the new deal, the services bin crew Loaders will be moved to the top of Grade 3 of the Local Authority Pay Scale which equates to £22,129.

Cleansing drivers will move to the top of Grade 4 or £24,920. In addition an already implemented skills payment for HGV drivers will be increased from £2,700 to £3,500.