Refuse strike brewing at Waltham Forest as pay talks break down

Download as PDF

GMB London Refuse workers in Waltham Forest face no choice but to follow refuse depots across the UK and take industrial action. Urbaser, who run the refuse contract for the borough, refused to meet workers' pay demands as cost-of-living skyrockets.

One GMB refuse worker in Waltham Forest said:

“We work in all weathers 365 days a year, with filth and grime, potentially hazardous viruses and bacteria therefore we run a high risk of being ill because of the type of work we do. I was off work for four months and did not get paid any money from the company where I have worked for 12 years. I feel like just a number to the company, so we must stand up for ourselves and stick together.” 

GMB London Region Organiser, Michael Dooley said:

“GMB met with Urbaser and they have refused to consider the implementation of a company sick pay scheme.  GMB doesn't understand the company’s lack of consideration of the impact this has on its workforce when workers cannot afford to take time off work to recover from ill health. It is Dickensian, to say the least.

GMB is also demanding that HGV drivers are paid according to their market value. GMB members working as street cleaners are low earners and struggled before the current economic crisis, now with the prospect of energy prices going through the roof they need a pay rise of a minimum of £15 an hour, in line with the call from TUC.”  

 “We hope that once the results of the ballot are known, the employer will do the right thing and invite GMB and Unite back to the negotiating table in a bid to avoid strike action that will affect the refuse and cleansing services provided to residents of the London Borough of Waltham Forest.”



Notes to Editors

Both GMB and Unite will conduct an indicative ballot for industrial action. Once the ballot closes on    Monday 5th September 2022, and the results conclude the support of industrial action, residents of the borough will experience the same disruption to refuse services seen in other parts of the country where workers have resorted to strike action for better pay and conditions.

Urbaser the giant Spanish-based utilities company, has refused the request to implement a company sick pay scheme put forward by GMB and Unite that would allow refuse workers to be paid for a limited period when they are ill and cannot work.   

For further information contact Michael Dooley 077 7306 1798

For more information please contact: GMB London Region Press Office 079 7001 9643 /