Unite, the UK’s leading union, has warned that the long running refuse collection strike in Workington and the surrounding area will continue indefinitely.

All-out strike

The workers, who are employed by Allerdale Waste Services, which is 100 per cent owned by Cumberland council, have been on all-out strike since 16 May in a dispute over pay.

This week, the workers, who are members of Unite, unanimously rejected Allerdale Waste’s latest offer as it did not address the pay issue. Talks were held yesterday (Tuesday 7 June) between the union and Allerdale Waste/Cumberland council. Management became hostile when Unite informed them their offer had been rejected and then the talks collapsed as management refused to consider the union’s counter proposal 'as it was not on the agenda'.

Astonishing conduct

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: Local residents will be astonished at the conduct of Allerdale Waste and Cumberland council. Their refusal to even discuss a possible solution to the dispute is beyond belief.  But so be it. Make no mistake, Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at Allerdale Waste will always receive the union’s 100 per cent support.”

Low pay

The workers’ pay rates are among the lowest in the entire country. The loaders are paid just £10.90 an hour, while the drivers, who are required to hold an HGV licence, are only paid £11.89 an hour.

Tensions in the dispute have further increased as Allerdale Waste Services has recruited agency workers earning £14 an hour (which is well in excess of the rates for the permanent staff), to undermine the strike.

Good faith needed

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: “Negotiations can only be a success if both sides are willing to act in good faith, at the moment that only applies to Unite.

“Allerdale’s refusal to enter into proper negotiations is preventing a resolution to the dispute and prolonging the misery of local residents. Unite remains prepared to return to talks, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.”


Notes to editors:

Cumberland council exposed using anti-union laws to undermine lawful Allerdale refuse strike

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.