Councils welcome call for pause in strike action as progress in bin talks continues

Adur & Worthing Councils have welcomed signs of a positive approach in talks aimed at ending the bin strike.

At a meeting today involving officers from Councils, recognised union UNISON and the GMB, whose members are in the second week of a strike, it was agreed all parties would move forward to explore a joint union recognition agreement within the waste, recycling and cleansing service.

A spokesman for Councils said:

“We are pleased that some progress has been made in resolving this dispute. We understand how anxious our residents are to see the resumption of the service. We have always believed the current deal struck by ourselves, UNISON and staff is a good one but we have also always been open to hearing what others think.

“We have asked the GMB to pause the strike while we continue to talk. It was never going to be possible to resolve everything in one meeting but we believe it to be totally reasonable for the GMB to show good faith now to cease strike action to give us all breathing space to continue discussions.”

The Councils initiated a review into the whole service in October last year which involved talking to staff and UNISON, which represents staff across all Councils' services. The result of the review so far is that all staff had been given a pay rise in the first year of more than 6% on top of a national backdated pay award of 1.75%. The Councils' HGV drivers have been given pay rises of more than 12.7%. All of these proposed rises are permanent additions to salary scales and not one-offs

In total 65 members of staff have been moved up a pay grade and a further 40 who are required to drive HGVs regularly as part of their role will get a permanent annual £2,700 specialist skills supplement. Four more will get both the annual specialist skills supplement and be moved up a grade.

A deal on a joint recognition agreement would allow the GMB to join UNISON in the ongoing review of the service.

Councils have said they respect the wishes of staff to be represented by the union of choice or none at all. However under industrial relation laws there are procedures towards official recognition that must be followed.

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