Workers employed by Allerdale Waste Services will begin strike action later this month in a dispute over pay.

The 60 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are taking strike action due to enduring poverty pay rates. Loaders are paid just £10.90 an hour while refuse lorry drivers, who have to hold a HGV licence, are only on £11.89. 

Low pay

These rates came into effect from the beginning of this month when the employer imposed a 10.1 per cent increase. However, this was an overall real terms pay cut, with the real inflation rate (RPI) standing at 13.8 per cent.

Even with the recent pay increase, the pay rates are among the lowest for refuse workers in the UK.

The initial strike action, which will affect the town of Workington and the surrounding area, begins on Thursday 27 April and ends on Sunday 30 April. If a vastly improved pay offer is not made then further action is expected in the coming weeks.

Poverty pay rates

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is outrageous that our members, who are delivering vital local cleansing services, are on poverty rates of pay.

“The low pay our members are suffering combined with the cost of living crisis means that they are struggling daily to make ends meet.

“Unite has a laser like focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workforce at Allerdale Waste Services will be receiving the union’s undivided support.”

Owned by 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.


Unite regional officer Lewis Watson said: “The strike action will inevitably result in large-scale disruption as residents’ bins will go uncollected. But this dispute is entirely the fault of management at Allderale Waste Services, who have had every opportunity to make a fair pay offer but have failed to do so.

“Allerdale Waste Services and Cumberland council must stop prevaricating and make our members a fair offer.”


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.