Workers at council-owned Bristol Waste offered pay cut despite £2.3m gross profits  

More than 200 refuse workers employed by Bristol Waste are being balloted for industrial action, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday).

The workers, who collect bins, clean the streets and operate household waste and recycling centres, are angry at a 17 month pay offer of seven per cent or £2000, whichever is greater for their salary. With the real rate of inflation, RPI, running at 11.4 per cent, this is a significant real terms pay cut.  

While many of the workers are paid little more than the minimum wage, Bristol Waste, which is owned by the council, made gross profits of more than £2.3 million for the year ending March 2022. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Bristol Waste, which is wholly owned by Bristol council, can well afford to pay these workers a decent rise. It is completely unacceptable that a Labour council is leaving its workers to struggle with rocketing living costs when the business it is employing them through is making such large profits. 

“Bristol council and Bristol Waste need to come back with a better offer and soon because Unite will be backing our members all the way.” 

The ballot for industrial action opens today (30 May) and closes on 13 June. 

Unite regional officer Ken Fish said: “Unless an acceptable offer is tabled, Bristol residents will be facing a foul-smelling summer. But this will be entirely the fault of Bristol Waste and the council who are refusing to put forward a fair pay rise for these workers.”  

Around 150 workers employed by Suez emptying bins on behalf of South Gloucestershire council are also in dispute over pay and will take strike action in June and July.


For media enquires ONLY contact senior Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215 or 020 3371 2065. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion


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