Refuse collection strikes affecting Workington and the surrounding area will begin tomorrow (27 April) after last gasp peace talks failed following an offer for which there is no justification at all.

Poverty pay rates

The 60 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, involved in the dispute are employed by Allerdale Waste Services. The dispute is a result of the poverty pay rates the workers receive. Loaders are paid £10.90 an hour, which is barely above the minimum wage, while drivers, who must hold an HGV licence, are only paid £11.89 an hour. The pay rates are among the lowest paid to refuse workers throughout the UK.

Last gasp peace talks were held on Monday but they collapsed when management refused to increase pay rates and instead only offered two extra days of annual leave.

No justification 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Allerdale Waste Services can’t continue paying poverty pay to our members who are undertaking essential frontline roles.

“There is absolutely no justification at all to be paying rates far below what workers undertaking the same roles in neighbouring areas are paying their workers.”

Strike dates

The initial strike is from Thursday 27 April and ends on Sunday 30 April. With the collapse of the peace talks, the strike action will now intensify with further walk outs beginning on Tuesday 2 May and ending on Sunday 7 May. There will then be a further strike from Tuesday 9 May ending on Thursday 11 May.

Since the dispute began, Unite has been clear that it expects members to be paid the normal rate for the job. Unite had expected this week’s negotiations to address this issue but when management were only prepared to offer two days extra annual leave and not consider Unite’s own proposals the talks collapsed.

Going rate

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “Our members are taking strike action as a last resort as they cannot keep their heads above water on such low pay rates.

“If Allerdale Waste Services want to avoid industrial action then they must make an offer that pays the going rate for the job for our members. It is not complicated.” 

Owned by Cumberland council

Allerdale Waste Services is a private company which was created by the former Allerdale council and is now wholly owned by Cumberland council which came into being on 1 April 2023.


Notes to editors:

The principal picket line will:be Allerdale Waste Services LtdSolway House Mossbay RoadWorkingtonCumbria CA14 3XH and will be in operation from 05:00 until 16:00.

Workington residents face spring bin chaos as workers announce strike action over poverty pay rates 

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

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.