Statement updated – Friday 26 May 2023
We have been notified today by the GMB Union that proposed strike action from Tuesday 30 May has been suspended. This is to allow talks to take place.
It means that next week, waste and recycling collections in Thanet will continue as scheduled. This includes collections going ahead on the Bank Holiday (Monday 29 May).
The council issued a statement last week, below, following the announcement by GMB of their intention to strike. It outlines the steps already taken to address the concerns raised by cleansing staff regarding pay and the working environment. We recognise the need to support our staff and competitive pay is important for recruitment and retention.
Original statement – Friday 19 May 2023
Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that the GMB union has confirmed that its members intend to go on strike. Thanet is one of the councils in Kent and the wider South East region that has been targeted by GMB action, which ultimately risks impacting critical public services.
“Despite ongoing attempts to meet, GMB is refusing to hold discussions with our other recognised trade union which is in breach of our collective bargaining agreement.
“There are 543 members of staff at the council. Of the 59 eligible GMB members, 34 (58%) voted, and of those, 30 (88%) voted for strike action.
“We have contingency plans in place and are doing everything we can to mitigate the impact on our residents.
“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“These market supplements will only be withdrawn after permanent changes to the pay structure have been made.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.
“The statements made by GMB representatives don’t reflect the reality of our commitment to our staff. The grievances that have been raised by cleansing staff around pay and the working environment have already been addressed. GMB has consistently failed to attend meetings and there doesn’t appear to be a genuine desire to resolve this matter. Our door is always open for constructive conversation and we sincerely hope that a solution can be found without the inconvenience that a strike could bring to our residents.”