Suez will not be able to bring in agency workers to cover striking bin workers after 10 August

The impact from all-out strikes by around 150 workers employed by Suez emptying bins on behalf of South Gloucestershire council is set to worsen after a High Court ruling banning agency workers.

Following the Government’s decision to reverse the ban on employers hiring agency workers during strike action in July 2022, a group of union’s including Unite, challenged the decision through a judicial review coordinated by the TUC.

The High Court has today upheld the unions’ judicial review. The 2022 amendment to the regulations has now been quashed due to the Government’s complete failure to consult prior to implementing their proposals, as required by legislation.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a total vindication for unions and workers. The government’s decision to allow employers to recruit agency workers to undermine legal strike action was a cynical move to back their friends in business and weaken workers’ legal rights to withdraw their labour.

“It was entirely counterproductive as, rather than weaken industrial action, it has hardened attitudes and unnecessarily extended strikes. The dispute with Suez is a perfect example of that. The only way this dispute will be resolved is with an acceptable offer from the company.”

The workers began all-out strike action earlier this month after rejecting an eight per cent pay offer from the company which, according to its latest UK financial returns, brought in profits of £80.8 million in 2021. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 11.3 per cent, this is a significant real terms pay cut. 

The company’s South Gloucestershire bin loaders earn just £11.53 per hour. 

Unite will meet with the company tomorrow (Friday) for further pay talks.

Unite regional officer Ken Fish said: “Suez has been put on notice – no more agency workers after 10 August. Our members’ resolve remains rock solid and they will strike everyday throughout the summer if necessary.

“The impact of the strikes, which are entirely the fault of the company’s greed, will worsen. Suez can afford to table an offer our members can accept and that is what needs to happen.”


Notes to editors:

Unite slams South Gloucestershire council’s ‘pretend intervention’ in Suez bin dispute

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite senior communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.