Unite press release

For immediate release: Friday 26 August 2022

Newham council’s failure to get serious about the cost of living crisis means bins will go unemptied

Strike action begins this Saturday.

Council offers a “measly” £850 when workers demand £2300 to address pay disparities and the cost of living crisis

Strike action by refuse collection workers in the London Borough of Newham officially begins on Saturday 27 August. 99% of union members voted for action.

Talks stalled this week after council bosses failed to improve an offer of just £850 a year for bank holiday working. The workers are currently paid far less than refuse workers in neighboring Hackney and Greenwich. For example an operative in Newham earns £22,850 compared to £24,763 for a worker in Greenwich doing the same work.

With inflation running at 12.3% (RPI) and forecast to climb higher, spiralling price rises mean the essential workers face an impending financial emergency. The Borough’s failure to address the pay disparities alongside the cost of living crisis means a week of unemptied bins in Newham. More action will follow unless there is a deal.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:  The drivers and loaders at Newham have Unite’s complete support. The council must now focus on reaching a deal with the workers who face a financial crisis.  If they don’t then the coming days will undoubtedly mean more industrial action.”

130 loaders and drivers employed by the London Borough of Newham will strike between Saturday 27 August and Saturday 3 September.

Unite regional officer, Steve Edwards said: “We appeared to be making good progress but the talks ended with the council offering a measly £850 when inflation is rocketing. The workers are already paid far less than the crews in neighboring boroughs but Newham just aren’t making a serious offer.

“So, the blame for this dispute lies squarely with the council when there is such a gaping hole in the workers’ pay packets. Time is running out. The council needs to get its act together.”

Pickets will be in place between 5.30am – 2pm each day of the strike at Central Depot, Folkstone Road, London, E6 6BX.


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion Web: unitetheunion.org

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.