GMB to re-ballot Thanet bin staff over strike action in pay dispute


Strike action by council bin staff is still a possibility, Thanet council leader Rick Everitt said.

Speaking at a full council meeting last week Cllr Everitt said council chief executive Colin Carmichael has been leading on negotiations with GMB union over the pay claim for cleansing staff.

He said: “This dispute is something else we have inherited from the previous administration and despite talks taking place via ACAS which resulted in an improved offer for staff, strike action remains a threat.”

Cllr Everitt said although it was strictly a matter for officers, the “fall out” would be something for members to deal with.

In May, following the local elections, GMB union members working for Thanet District Council’s Waste and Recycling collections services voted to suspend strike action which was due to start on May 30.

Members voted to allow talks aimed at seeking a resolution to proposals for improved council pay rates and bandings.

Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser said the talks were needed to: “tackle the substantive issue of low pay for those providing this vital service to council tax payers within the district and aimed at ending the dispute allowing our members and council staff access to an improved standard of living allowing them perhaps just a little breathing space between themselves and possible workplace poverty.”

Mr Palmer said there have been talks facilitated by ACAS but the offer from Thanet council has been disappointing.

He said: “Unfortunately the offers we received, our members found insulting and nowhere near where they want to be.”

Pay offers

Mr Palmer said members are asking for £15ph for drivers and £12ph for loaders. These pay scales have recently been accepted by Dover, Folkestone, Ashford and Swale councils. Further afield in Winchester a potential refuse strike has been avoided after members, who are employed by the council’s waste contractor Biffa, have this morning (July 17) accepted a pay deal for HGV drivers to receive £15.50 per hour and loaders £12 per hour.

The pay offer received for Thanet staff on June 30 was £14.22 for drivers and £11.35 for loaders – a rise of 15p per hour.

Mr Palmer says the two authorities which have not agreed to those rates are Thanet and Canterbury – where strike action by bin and cleansing staff is currently taking place.

He added: “Everyone around them is agreeing to those sort of rates, what’s really disappointing is the two authorities being difficult are Labour controlled councils. I am shocked.”

Mr Palmer added: “They need to recognise the fact the guys are doing a dirty and vital job and all they want is a decent wage. They need to feed their families and they are struggling.”

The GMB will be issuing notice that it will re-ballot members this month to decide whether to go forward with industrial action in Thanet.

‘Competitive pay’

Mr Carmichael previously said: “We are committed to providing our residents with essential services and our staff play a critical role in enabling us to do this. We recognise the need to support our staff and competitive pay is important for recruitment and retention.

“Some of our lowest paid workers will see rises of up to 11.56% to bring their pay in line with the market rate. We have already applied a market supplement to the salary of the majority of cleansing staff. The supplements are backdated to the beginning of April this year, and lift salaries to a level which is comparable with other organisations offering similar services.

“These market supplements will only be withdrawn after permanent changes to the pay structure have been made. We expect that pay will then remain at a level equivalent to, or higher than, the market supplement currently in place.”

Canterbury strike action

In Canterbury members of the GMB union who work for Canenco on bin collections in the district are on strike for a ninth consecutive working day today (Monday 17 July).

The depot is currently being picketed although there are crews working.

Last week the GMB said Canterbury City Council’s use of agency workers to cover shifts “is breaking the law.”

This followed a High Court ruling on July 13 which quashed the Government’s decision to permit employers to use agency workers to undermine strikes.

Mr Palmer said: “GMB union has warned Canterbury Council in light of (the) High Court ruling, it may now be breaking the law by using agency workers during a strike.

“Our members are surprised and very disappointed a Labour led council would use Tory anti-union laws like these to try to break a strike in the first place.”

Canterbury council has reached agreement with Unison members for drivers’ pay go up to £14.45 an hour (a £1.87 an hour rise including the consolidated driver retention bonus) and loaders’ pay to go up to £11.61 an hour (up by 95 pence an hour).

Staff in other frontline services of the business will also receive similar increases of up to 95 pence per hour.

The pay offer is backdated to the start of April. The payment will be made to all staff, including GMB members who remain on strike action.

Pay rates from other authorities

Brighton & Hove – Drivers = £16.27 p/h; Loaders = £12.32 p/h

Adur & Worthing – Drivers = £16.59 p/h; Loaders = £12.46 p/h

Dover & Folkestone – Drivers = £15.50 p/h; Loaders = £12.00 p/h

Ashford – Drivers = £15.02 p/h; Loaders = £12.00

Swale – Drivers = £15.02 p/h; Loaders = £12.00

Winchester – Drivers = £15.50 p/h; Loaders = £12.00 p/h

Chichester – Drivers = £15.21 p/h; Loaders = £11.99 p/h


  1. I’d be inclined to walk out on principle if 15p was considered a reasonable offer.

    But, if i were that convinced my skills are worth so much more than my current job, i’d go get a different one.

    Comparisons with Winchester are ok but on their own say nothing, for example the Local Housing Allowance in Winchester is around 30% higher than Thanet which suggests hpusing is much more expensive there. So perhaps our bin crews are already very well paid in comparison.

  2. We are not that well paid in comparison to every thing else has gone up. so to the person saying I won’t pay them in washers is that because you need then for the bolt In your neck

    • Big bear

      To use his own words ignore the twat !!

      You guys and girls do a thankless job and I wouldnt want to do your job and deal with people like ‘real world’.

      You work in all weathers, bank holiday etc. I for one appreciate your work

    • I was merely showing how there are differences in areas other than amounts paid, even the actual rates of pay mean little these days, the numbers we shpuld be looking at are the amounts that a worker actually nets after any tax credits etc are taken into account, a single under 30 who rents will end up with way less than a colleague the same age but with a partner and 2 lids and also rents. If the latter were to rent from the council then they’d be much better off again. Yet the two workers do identical jobs for the same number of hours .The headline numbers tell us very little, the overall pay/tax/benefit system has become so complex that comparisons are almost impossible.

    • Well I don’t know what they are complaining about, £12ph is nearly the same as a Junior doctor on £14ph!

  3. i perhaps im wrong . they were pressed ganged into the job then ? and regarding sandwich road tip , the last time i went there three of the staff were sat back in comfy chairs outside the office sunbathing. – more money ?

    • Tea breaks or lunch breaks ,no where else to go ,except to stay on site .Or in your world ,are they not allowed ,breaks, you need to come into the real world ,real world

    • Staff at recycling centre are employed by KCC,not TDC,dustman are employed by TDC ,not KCC. Get your facts right

  4. Real world you have got a huge chip !

    Think you might find the tip is KCC not TDC but dont let that stop you 😉

  5. The damage that the Unions are currently doing to our Country is frightening. From their Ridiculously high wage demands, demands for shorter working weeks, refusing changes to working practices even though some of these firms cannot compete because of their their antiquated working practices . I’m all for protecting workers rights but at the minute the unions are crippling British companies and the British Government.

    No wonder inflation won’t go down,the unions unrealistic wage demands are pushing up prices for our manufacturers , our food producers, our farmers, government departments , our heavy industry and every consumer.

    We all want more wages but the reality is that these firms and government departments simply can’t afford the ridiculous wage increases these fools are demanding.

    The unions will quickly blame the government when the next massive wave of redundancies come along but in truth it will be the unions greed and excessive short sighted demands that will bring the country to its knees. I really hope the unions chiefs are held accountable when their greed results in their paying members losing their jobs and careers.

    • “From their Ridiculously high wage demands…”
      Workers just want the wages they would have had, if the government had given them cost-of-living raises over the past dozen years. Any pay rise of less than 12% is actually a pay cut.

      • We have all had real term pay cuts, that’s what happens when a Country goes through world changing events ie Corina virus, Ukrainian war etc. All of the world has experienced the same as us and virtually every nation is facing the same situation.

        The problem with the far left is that they only speak about how rich England is as the worlds 6th richest Country but never mention the fact that the country is in debt to the tune of £2,224.5 billion at the end of financial year ending March 2021 (it’s far worse than that from 2021-2023). Our Country is drowning in debt but the left think it’s ok to just spend spend spend with little to no regard to the consequences.

        The Country cannot afford to pay the wages these people are demanding. Holding the country and the nations businesses to ransom when the outlook is so bleak is utter stupidity and only goes to reinforce how bad things will be if the next government is a Labour government, as for as much as Keir Starmer tells the nation that Labour has changed, the reality is that the Labour Party is still controlled by its puppet masters the unions.

        Whole councils are threatening to go into bankruptcy, the national debt is spiralling out of control and our Nations Businesses have not had such a bleak financial outlook in generations but still the left wing unions try to rinse out more. The end result is inevitably going to be mass redundancies and ever shrinking public services. Perhaps it’s time that the Unions actually had people at the helm who actually had had an inkling of the costs and pressures facing our employers and government rather than living daydream land.

        • Concerned

          So you expect the working class to suffer for this government.

          The well of are getting richer by the hour thanks to their mates the Tories.

          Get big companies to pay the correct taxes. Amazon, ebay, man utd etc all tax avoiding companies

          • “Concerned” your an ignorant rabid right wing Pillock! Why are essential workers being forced by the Tory’s to take in affect a 26% pay cut which is what they need to just stay still from 13 years ago! My state pension was triple locked, so it kept up with inflation, so why wasn’t essential workers? I would like to see all MP’s take a 26% pay cut, instead they award themselves a pay rise every year!

  6. Our bin men that collect our rubbish and recycling every Tuesday here in Broadstairs are brilliant and do a great job , they really earn their money .

  7. 12£ and 15 £ an hr .Considering these guys get up at the crack of dawn to start there rounds . On that money there not exactly living extravagant lifestyles. It a job someone has to do . A lot of people would not do it for the money on offer so you shouldn’t knock the guys . A thankless job but very necessary.

  8. Why do TDC spokespeople refer to “our staff” when talking about the bin men?
    Like everything else, waste collection has been privatised. So the bin men are not “our staff”. They work for a private company that takes its own slice off the top for the benefit of shareholders and senior management. Anything left after that is used for wages , maintenance etc.
    It’s not surprising that wages have been falling steadily over decades as the price we pay for services always has to have this large part removed before it gets to the people who actually do the job.
    It’s not the kind of job I would want to do, even if I was younger and fitter. So I’m not going to criticise the people who actually do it.
    Anyway, regardless of the job and how it’s done, the cost of food in the supermarket is the same for everybody. You can’t go into a supermarket and explain that you are on a lower wage so qualify for cheaper prices.
    We ALL need a proper income and we are not getting one.
    Even David Cameron said back when he was the Prime Minister that “Britain needs a pay rise!” Not that he did anything about it!
    Once we have better wages, we might be able to go out and ,you know, actually BUY things. Making it possible for companies that provide things for us to buy to begin to thrive and ,guess what, pay their own workers better wages. And so on.
    But all our major political Parties are stuck with the destructive dogma that we have to suffer poverty for decades before we magically get rich as long as we wait long enough.
    But it isn’t working ,is it?

    • That’s the vicious cycle that has always been the problem.
      Higher wages mean higher wage bills for companies. To thrive, companies have to increase their prices.
      Everyone wants higher wages to pay these prices.
      Back where we started.
      No idea what the answer is.

  9. These workers deserve a rise. Would you like to do it for a week and see how bad things are? You would not last a minute. I wish them well. I laugh at the government and its use of the term that we must grow the economy. How? If you can’t afford to buy things then the economy will stagnate. It is a regular chicken and egg problem. However it doesn’t mean stingy pay rises right now.

  10. If they wanted a well paid job they should have gone to university like their Council bosses I know that they know dlddly squat but it is the Mickey Mouse Degree that gives them the upper hand.

  11. The other day there was an article saying we have the highest unemployment level in the country. Now we have people working but want to strike. I think there may be a solution in these two stories.

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