Thanet bin strike called off following improved pay offer from council

Waste operatives

A Thanet bin strike has been averted after the council made a ‘bumper’ pay offer yesterday [Monday 18 September], says the GMB union.

GMB members who work as refuse, recycling and street cleansing operatives for Thanet District Council had voted for industrial action and were ready to walk out in a dispute over pay.

The members employed by the council directly were asking for £15ph for drivers and £12ph for loaders.

Staff were due to start industrial action on Monday (September 11) but this was suspended for a meeting with Thanet council, facilitated by ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

Thanet council has now offered a further 5.75 per cent on top of its previous offer.

GMB members in Canterbury took 67 days of strike action and won £15 an hour for drivers and £12 an hour for loaders. Thanet District Council has now agreed to offer similar terms and to implement the rise from 1 November.

GMB members were balloted in their workplace yesterday and accepted the council’s improved offer

Frank Macklin, GMB Organiser, said: “Thanet residents will be relieved to hear that the council has done the right thing and agreed to pay their refuse and recycling workers the going rate for the job.

“It’s clear Thanet council didn’t want a long-protracted and messy dispute like the one seen in Canterbury.

“This result is testament to the determination of GMB members in Thanet who were willing to strike to get the pay rates they deserve, as well as their colleagues in Canterbury who made huge personal sacrifices to demonstrate what refuse workers should be paid.

“This campaign will now continue to spread across the South East and our message to refuse workers is clear: contact GMB and we will be happy to help you win a better pay deal.”

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “Negotiations between the council and the GMB Union have concluded today (Tuesday 19 September).

“This means that the current pay dispute is formally closed and industrial action will no longer go ahead, avoiding potential disruption to residents’ waste and cleansing services.

“The proposed agreement which has been accepted by members of the GMB Union means that pay levels for these staff will be comparable to staff doing similar jobs in other councils.”

42 Comments

  1. Gotta love a Labour Administration. TDC already heading for a half million pound overspend after the first three months of the financial year and this will just add to that.

    Vote Labour, get bankruptcy.

    (See also “Birmingham Council”)

        • Toilet review is due for completion shortly, we have one lift reopening via the Margate Town Deal, the Theatre Royal has £2,000,000 of funding to reopen it, and we’re looking at all ways we can support the Winter Gardens.

          However, the easiest answer would be “When we have a government that doesn’t cut 60% of our essential funding away”.

          Until then, we’ll keep working hard enough to make things happen regardless.

          • Thank you for your reply. Something that is particularly poor in Thanet is the lack of toilets during the winter months between Margate and Broadstairs – a six mile stretch! Walk/cycle six miles from Herne Bay to Whitstable, and there are at least three public toilets open, all year round (and they’re clean). Remember, these are national walking and cycle trails.

          • Central government may feel that it’s pointless giving money to councils such as tdc when you consider the wasteage over the years

            Animal export compensation
            Endless payouts under NDAs
            Internal staff disputes
            Failures of council departments, Commercial Property being a more recent example
            Failure of EKH
            Last 3 chief execs leaving early with payoff ( 3 really is a bit careless)
            Dubious amounts spent on the M&S building, Dreamland
            Sudden sell off of the Dreamland Car Park
            Community asset transfers that could have been sold on the open market.
            Cost of Royal Crescent
            The costs of the port ramsgate / Bretts lease

            Just a few that come to mind , how many millions does all this add upto? Occured over a good number of years and councils of all political hues. Plus all the waste we never get to hear about.

      • I greatly admire your optimism.

        A £2m overspend on TDC services last year followed by an identified £489k overspend in 23/24 as at Qtr 1 plus another £75k allocated to the travellers on Ramsgate Port.

        I look forward to seeing Labour balance all of this by the end of the year as well as delivering all their election commitments to residents.

    • Would you rather rubbish piling up in the streets for months-with rats etc crawling around, until they agreed anyway? See Canterbury & Brighton for what the streets end up looking like-because until the councils give them the increase it just lays there rotting.

  2. Fantastic news,avoiding an unnecessary strike which would have been a disaster for residents. Remember this dispute started under a Tory administration but resolved under the new socialist council.

  3. Excellent outcome. We need to pay the drivers the going rate or lose them to all the other organisations desperate for HGV drivers. The Tory regime (now deceased) should have negotiated this but thankfully the new Labour administration have done the right thing. Also, ACAS proved useful again in getting settlements – worth remembering for the future!

  4. Have they agreed with many people’s suggestion of carrying a shovel and broom with them, or didn’t (Not) Labour bother asking them?

  5. In order to pay these workers, the money is either going to come from increased council tax (of which only about 11p in the pound goes to TDC) or other services will be cut. There is only so much money in the pot whichever party is on power.
    In return for their pay increase I would ask that when litter is dropped when bins are emptied, they pick it up and put it in the rubbish truck. Something which should be a matter of course for any conscientious worker anyway.

  6. For anyone interested:

    Council Tax percentage breakdown 2022/23

    Kent County Council 70.60%
    Thanet District Council 11.76%
    The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent 11.19%
    Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority 4.02%
    Town and parish councils (average) 2.43%

  7. The reason i hear complaints on all issues is i am on the doorstep listening to many issues most weeks, regardless of its on local , county or national problems

  8. I heard that one of the many problems with Birmingham City Council was that they opted for crowd pleasing rather than on spending money where the need was greatest. So for example they gave refuse collectors a pay hike on the grounds that overflowing bins anger almost everyone but ignored the crying need to increase pay for care workers as they are ‘only’ important to a section of the community and were also highly unlikely to strike. So this at least was not corruption and illustrates the difficult position of councils everywhere.
    I really don’t know how councillors are meant to communicate with people – we’re all so mistrustful and understandably so. And with so little money in the pot they do indeed have to make some impossible choices. I admire anyone who’ll raise their head above the parapet as they do yet I know that there are quite a few who are just in it for themselves – I don’t think I have enough information to tell the difference as yet. I’m pretty sure though that anyone who just plain mouths off on social media without being sure of the facts does risk deterring the best councillors from sticking with the job.

    • Issues with discriminatory pay and a software system that went way over budget , are the main source of Birminghams financial woes. But it is a council ( unlike thanet) that has huge wealth tied up in the assets it owns, so some careful selling off of some of these and a bit of rearrangement of the management and they’ll be back in business , all be it with a diminished balnce sheet.

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