Threat of bin strike looms for Thanet in dispute over pay levels

Waste operatives

GMB union members working as refuse collectors, street cleaners, drivers and loaders within Thanet District Council are set to take two weeks strike action from Monday 11 September.

But, the union says, there is still more than a week left before action begins, giving “more than enough time to sit down and enter negotiations.”

The members are employed by the council directly and are in dispute over pay.  Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, previously said 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 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.

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.

The union is extending an invitation to meet for negotiations with hopes the dispute can be settled before any strike has taken place.

Frank Macklin, GMB Regional Organiser said: “Our members employed by Thanet District Council are just after the going market rate.

“These are hard workers doing a dangerous and dirty job, who just want paying what their local equivalents get elsewhere.

“There is still over a week left before this strike begins, which is more than enough time to sit down and enter negotiations.

“Our door remains open to the council’s Chief Executive or whoever else, to get a deal reached and avoid loads of unnecessary inconvenience to the people of Thanet.”

In neighbouring Canterbury a bin strike which started in July has been extended into October as the dispute over pay continues.

Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, Colin Carmichael said: “We’ve been attempting to hold meaningful talks with the GMB Union since May, when members of the union stated their original intention to strike.

“The reality is that we have already increased pay for our cleansing services staff to reflect comparable jobs elsewhere, and there is a further generous pay offer on the table.

“Comparing the pay position for Thanet with other areas, where the waste service is run privately and not by the local authority, is not comparing like for like. It does not reflect the wider package of benefits our staff receive, such as generous pension contributions. Our current hourly rates of pay already exceed reported market rates across east Kent, when pension contributions are taken into account.

“The request from the GMB for Thanet in short is unrealistic and would come at the expense of other important priorities, particularly if we want to maintain the current level of service to our residents as well as protect jobs for our staff.

“If strike action goes ahead this will impact the waste collection and street cleaning services that Thanet residents ultimately pay for.  As you would expect there are contingency plans in place to maintain as many council waste collections as possible in the event of a strike. We will be working hard to keep the disruption residents face to a minimum as far as we can.

“As I’ve said before, we absolutely recognise the need to support our staff, and competitive pay is important for recruitment and retention. But requests which go beyond the reality of what is possible, and action which impacts on the delivery of providing our residents with essential services, feels irresponsible.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve yet to reach an agreed pay offer and that the threat of strikes remains. We welcome realistic discussions with the union in the hope that we can achieve an outcome that works for all parties.”


  1. If they clean up after dropping litter and clean the streets as they use to.
    Walk the streets as they did in the old days with broom and bin( all streets ) then pay them. Come on Everett do your job get Thanet clean

    • You beat me to it! TDC’s bin lorries don’t even have anywhere to put a shovel and broom, how was that allowed to happen? I’d go one further, and make them carry bins from alley ways the way they did for over 100 years, instead of forcing people to put bins in their front gardens or on the pavement.

      • “TDC’s bin lorries don’t even have anywhere to put a shovel and broom”

        Yeah, they do. You can see them stored between the cab and trailer.

        “I’d go one further, and make them carry bins from alley ways the way they did for over 100 years, instead of forcing people to put bins in their front gardens or on the pavement.”

        DURRRRRRRING THE WAAAAARRRR…You self entitled, lazy sod of a boomer hahaha

  2. A bit unrelated to article but I had it a few months ago when I put my black bin out. obviously someone walking by decided to put an empty redbull can and bottle of water in my bin, was pretty full so right at the top. When the bin men come, he opened the lid to check. Rather than take the bits placed on top of my bin or putting them in my blue bin, he just chucked them in my garden! Did make me laugh, not something I’d of expected.

  3. Brexit = labour shortages + increased core inflation => wage rise demands

    Good luck to them, we all deserve a better economy.

    • How many million are unemployed? Young people are just to lazy to jobs like this (or they’re suffering from long covid / mental health issues / M.E. or some other excuse).

        • Why should they get more if I have to clean my street with litter picker and bag after they have come through. They are useless when it comes to it but then it’s the typical these days to ask for more when you do less.

      • ” Young people are just to lazy to jobs like this (or they’re suffering from long covid / mental health issues / M.E. or some other excuse).”

        Ageist and ableist all in one comment, damn Pete, you’re on a roll.

        • I’ve asked Nigel online and in person a few times.

          He can never give a concrete answer and always answers with obfuscation, whataboutery and gish galloping. If you wanna support a bloke who’s intrinsically linked with Russian and US mafias and whom used military grade psywarfare in the form of Cambridge Analytica to con a base of easily grifted, useful idiots like yourself and other ukip/brexit/reform supporters, then crack on.

        • “Great Britain would be even greater without so much negativity.”

          So, by your own logic, why are your comments nine times out of ten, so negative and disparaging?

  4. Pay them what they’re worth (i.e. what they’re asking for). I couldn’t do that job and am very grateful for my bins being taken away each week.

        • MM Rees – hatred is a nasty trait in an individual. You seem to wind up easily which is not good for your health. Turn the other cheek or d not respond


        • Sounding a bit nuts there ‘the anesthetist’

          Maybe now you can understand how your comments wind others up with your snide, close minded remarks?
          Or maybe you won’t.. probably the latter.

          • Disagreeing with someone doesn’t necessarily imply “close-mindedness”. I don’t think my comments are snide- they are usually accurate.

    • Or just st contributing to their pensions and let them have it as wages instead. As the article says there’s more to an employment package than the wages alone.

      • “Or just st contributing to their pensions and let them have it as wages instead. ”

        and in actual, observable, objective reality…that’d be illegal. Every employer has to provide a pension scheme for employees now.

    • Ian pay them what they are worth? TDC say they get a pension too, but my guess is few if any will live long enough to get one!

  5. it takes a certain breed of person to be a bin man , that is very evident when i look at the team that collects mine

  6. Just give them those few pennies an hour! Why are people talking about Brexit and bin folks wages, not sure what the link is and I voted remain, now want to make what we have work!

  7. @ real world
    “it takes a certain breed of person to be a bin man”
    What the type who worked through both lock downs, while you were probably hiding behind the sofa??

  8. Some people on here are real snobs.

    The binmen want £12ph these people are out in all weathers picking up society’s waste. They must walk miles every day doing this. It’s a dirty, smelly job yet so many of society look down their nose at them. They are doing a vital and important job. They deserve 12quid an hour.

    They is a shortage of HGV drivers so 15quid and hour is fair. The driver have to squeeze past hundreds of parked cars down narrow roads. It’s a very skilled and patient job.

    Plus the bin crews have to put up with the selfish public, who cant wait to overtake or moan when the bin crews drop a few bits. Or when the public pu the rubbish out in the wrong containers.

    I for one thing they deserve this small pay rise and am thankful for they hard work.

  9. The lads who collect our waste and recycling in Minster do a very good job. Thank you lads. Not even a crisp packet on the ground in my street.

    • I agree with the previous two comments.
      Our bin collections are fine. The men doing the job are cheerful and diligent. Worth every penny.

        • Ms Pink

          You are very boring and very childish

          To many in society today just like to moan and live in the past were councils have loads of money and could employ alot more staff.

          TDC and KKC are basically broke and can only afford to run a skeleton staff.

          But it’s easy to be a keyboard warrior and attack the under paid, under valued, under motivated front line staff. All the time the top managers earns fortune sitting in their air con offices drinking tea and being able to use a loo when every they want.

        • yeah. As all TDC bin lorries do. Stored between the driver cab and the main body of the vehicle. If you pulled your head out your harris, and stopped viewing the world through blinkers, you might actually see them once in a while…

  10. Personally it cheeses me off , bin men get a payrise our council tax rises, trains strike our fares go up , nurses strike national insurance goes up , but us other workers pay doesn’t so we all suffer because of the greed of all our services, yet thanet stinks , trains are awful , and trying to get a Dr’s or hospital appointment is near on impossible,?

    • British tax payer

      Join a union and fight for the pay you want. Dont call other workers greedy because they are in a union and prepared to strike to get a fair pay deal.

      Just because you arent happy with your pay doesnt mean every worker has to be unhappy to.

      The things you point out about thanet have nothing to do with the workers but everything to do with the Tories, KCC, TDC, poor management of under funding and under staffing. The management that pay themselves way to much. KCC can find 44 million to build a new train station that has about 10 cars aday parked there.

      This is what the Tories want. Workers fighting against other workers.

    • The pay of directors, CEOs and the like has gone up by 16%; private sector employees have enjoyed 6% pay rises.
      There’s plenty of money around. Iy’s just that most of it goes to the rich.


    • “but us other workers pay doesn’t so we all suffer because of the greed of all our services”

      You ever though of, I dunno, unionising and fighting for better conditions, or is that out of your grasp for some reason?

      A fair days pay and weekends off weren’t won by moaning about it. They were won by unionisation, direct action and work to rule.

  11. I wonder how much the TDC senior staff earn and what rise they got. Bet is much more than these hard working staff. Those senior staff never get dirty fingers unless caught in the till of our taxes. I think a lot of jokers are on here trying to wind others up. However remember your words are either hateful or just plain nasty and says a lot about who you are. Waste collectors earn their money, do you? Brooms and shovels are only carried by street cleaners these days the waste men have no time as the drivers are pushed by this council to the limit of the driving hours. If drivers stopped every time to pick up some small rubbish every five minutes they would only get half the days job done. Blame your council for the tight schedules not those who have to do it. More than that are you so posh you can’t pick up any thing dropped in your street? Get a life and give a life to these hard working waste collectors. TDC don’t care about its workers. Never have and never will no matter the political colour of its staff. A chief that comes from useless Canterbury Council and look where their waste collections are. On strike for ages.

  12. Are there any street cleaners, I live near qeqm,and have not seen one for years on my street.Occasionally we get the motorised cleaner ,but that’s once or twice a year

    • I was walking in Tankerton earlier in the year, and not only did they have a road sweeper, but he was clearing weeds from the kerbs! I guess Canterbury Council get their priorities right, even in these tough times – unlike those at TDC.

      • Thanet has street sweeping teams, who can regularly be seen in Margate, Cliftonville, Broadstairs and surrounding. As do Ramsgate town council.

    • You used to give the binmen gifts that they’re not legally allowed to accept and could see them lose their jobs under antibribery laws that apply to all council employees? You’re SUCH a philanthropist.

  13. Just for information there are teams of workers going around sweeping the kerbs and weeding , or how about a suggestion why don’t people clean out side there own house it take 10 minutes I sweep the kerb and pavement every week I know it’s not my job but I would rather do it my self than look at the mess

  14. It’s not like TDC haven’t got the cash. Ask any of their senior leaders who have recently been renamed as “Directors” instead of “Head of Department” with a whopping pay rise to match.

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