Refuse workers in South Gloucestershire who stood together to reject a below inflation pay offer from their employer have gone on to win a pay increase worth around £1,300 over two years.

Suez, which employs 230 workers responsible for waste collection and recycling for South Gloucestershire council, posted pre-tax profits of £3 million in 2017. However, the company had been stalling on pay talks when it was clear the company had the ability to pay workers a fair pay increase.

After pressure from workers, management came back with an initial offer which the Unite members flatly rejected. A number of further offers were made, one of which included a six year pay deal. Workers overwhelmingly rejected the offer as it would have prevented any further pay bargaining for that period. Workers stood together and balloted for industrial action.

At the eleventh hour, prior to a planned 4-day strike, management finally offered workers a 3 per cent increase for 2019 and another 3 per cent for 2020 which included increases to all overtime rates.

Unite regional officer Ken Fish said: “Suez workers stood together. They joined Unite in a big show of solidarity and secured a fair pay increase after years of poor pay offers which in reality were pay cuts. The deal means drivers will receive an increase of £1,380 and loaders will get £1,248 over two years.”

Earlier this year refuse workers belonging to the Unite union in the South West employed by Bristol Waste also won a pay victory with a two year deal worth 6.2 per cent which meant a typical worker was in line for an increase worth around £1,400, almost double the company’s original pay offer.


Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focused on pay and conditions.

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.