Councillor Neil Parkin - Leader of Adur District Council and Councilor Kevin Jenkins - Leader of Worthing Borough Council, are jointly calling on the striking staff of the Adur and Worthing Council's waste, recycling and cleansing service to 'pause' their strike action. The staff have been on strike for two weeks and as they enter their third week of a planned four week period of action it is strongly argued that now is the time to stop and reflect on the impact they are having on residents and businesses across the two areas.
Last week the council met with its recognised workforce union UNISON and also with the GMB who are seeking formal representation for the striking workers. It was agreed last week that a new joint recognition agreement would be drafted to reflect the changes in the workforce and that this would be undertaken quickly. Council officers have been working on this since Thursday's meeting, including over the weekend and a series of meetings have been planned for this week with both unions to discuss a way forward. To help progress this Council has invited ACAS to facilitate those meetings.
Councillor Jenkins said, "I fully recognise the staff's choice of union representation, we have agreed a way forward and are working fast to achieve that arrangement. But with progress being made and a series of meetings planned for this week, now is the time for a 'pause' in this industrial action whilst the talks continue. This strike action is doing no one any good, it is causing misery to the residents and businesses who are suffering in the middle of this dispute; which many are now seeing as a turf-war between the two unions. Sadly, you only have to read the social media comment over the weekend on so many posts, where the goodwill built up by the waste workers during the past two years over the Covid period is being swiftly eroded away."
In March the staff were awarded increases in their pay grades, as well as permanent pay and skills based increases and these are being paid now, irrespective of their union membership and will be in their next salary payments in April, with back payments where appropriate. Residents may also be interested to learn that the strike action is directly supported by the GMB who, after day 2, pay their members a proportion of their core salary at times of strike to stand on the picket line and hinder other working services.
Councillor Parkin said, "I understand the position of the staff, but now is the time for some level heads to 'pause' this strike to allow for the meetings to progress towards a solution. Holding the public to ransom in this way is unacceptable. Sadly the workers have been encouraged by the presence of various Adur and Worthing Labour party councillors on the picket line, providing food and supporting their action, which as we know is causing great hardship across all parts of our community. As your elected representatives I would of hoped that they were seeking solutions, not perpetuating the strike longer."
Many residents are now taking their rubbish to the local amenity tips and some businesses are facing additional costs by bringing in other refuse contractors to do the work of the striking workers.
Councillor Neil Parkin
Councillor Kevin Jenkins