Surrey set for 'smelliest August' after bin collectors announce strike

·3-min read
Surrey residents may not have their bins emptied for up to three weeks. (PA)
Surrey residents may not have their bins emptied for up to three weeks. (PA)

Residents of Surrey are going to be subject to the "smelliest August for many years" after bin collectors voted to go on strike for 20 days amid a dispute over pay in the industry.

The GMB Union said its members employed by Amey, a waste collection services company, in Elmbridge and Surrey Heath will strike from 1-19 August.

The area, which includes Camberley, Cobham, Esher, Frimley, Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge, will see no kerbside rubbish collection for the period, with further walkouts planned.

Paul Grafton, GMB regional officer, said: "We have continually pushed Amey since April over pay as our members feel they are woefully underpaid and completely undervalued.

Garbage piled up in Brighton after a bin collector strike. (PA)
Garbage piled up in Brighton after a bin collector strike. (PA)

Read more: When are the next train strikes in the UK? Full list of dates so far for 2022

"Our members are at least £3 per hour underpaid, plus they don’t have the same levels of sick pay or pension benefits compared to those who are still working under local authority control elsewhere."

Grafton said the industry was currently experiencing a "race to the bottom" when it comes to terms and conditions of employment and employment.

“Residents of Surrey Heath and Elmbridge Borough Councils can now look forward to what is looking likely to be the hottest and now probably the smelliest August for many years.”

Several industries have been beset by strike action in recent months, with August set to see heavy disruption across several areas of society.

Train strikes crippled transport in the UK in June when staff walked out of their jobs over a dispute with Network Rail about terms and conditions, pay and redundancies.

More strikes by the RMT Union are set to take place at the end of July and throughout August.

There have also been signs that teachers, nurses, post workers and others could be considering strike action over pay as the cost of living soars.

Surrey Heath Councillor Colin Dougan said: “It is very disappointing that the GMB and Amey have not been able to come to an agreement on pay and that the GMB have decided to go down the route of strike action.

Several industries have been hit by strikes in recent months. (PA)
Several industries have been hit by strikes in recent months. (PA)

Read more: Brexit to blame for huge holiday queues to France, says Port of Dover boss

He said the council was now working on contingency plans to try and get some collections to go ahead.

The GMB has held a series of strikes this year among refuse collection workers in several parts of the country over pay.

An Amey spokesperson said: "We are extremely disappointed that the GMB have decided to call strike action for waste collection workers in Elmbridge and Surrey Heath.

"Currently GMB are asking for a pay increase of 28%. Our pay offer of 4.21% is in line with the Real Living Wage and that being accepted by other comparable workers across the country and elsewhere in the Surrey area."

They added: "If the union does press ahead with the proposed action, we have plans in place to minimise the impact on local communities wherever possible."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting