Refuse workers in the Workington area of Cumbria will hold a demonstration this week, after discovering that Cumberland council has made moves to further to prolong the industrial action, rather than resolving the long running dispute concerning low pay.

Where: Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 3YJ

When: Thursday 10 August, 09:00

All-out strike 

The workers have been on all-out strike since 16 May in the dispute over low pay. They are employed by Allerdale Waste Services (AWS) which is a company 100 per cent owned by Cumberland Council.

The demonstration coincides with the date when employers can no longer legally use agency workers to undermine lawful strike action. However, rather than resolve the dispute, AWS, in conjunction with Cumberland council, is seeking to circumvent the new rules by moving workers from agency working to being directly employed on short term contracts.

The decision to move to employing additional refuse workers directly was revealed to the workers, shortly prior to peace talks at the conciliation service Acas last Thursday (3 August). The council’s decision resulted in those talks failing to make a hoped for breakthrough in the dispute. 

End game playing 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Allerdale Waste Services and Cumberland council need to stop playing games and prolonging the strike action. Refuse workers play an essential frontline role and must be paid fairly and decently.

“The excuses need to end and the employers must return to the negotiating table and make our members’ a fair pay offer. It’s as simple as that.”

Low pay

The workers are on rates of pay which are among the lowest in the UK for refuse workers, the loaders are on just £10.90 an hour while the drivers, who must hold a HGV licence, are only on £11.98 an hour.

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “The council’s latest shenanigans will simply redouble the workers’ determination to secure a fair pay rise.”


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.