Biffa workers fight back to win pay improved award!

Refuse staff in Ashford vote overwhelmingly to accept new pay offer after a sustained campaign by UNISON

Refuse workers at Biffa’s Ashford depot have now settled a dispute with their employer and gained a significant pay increase after campaigning through their union, UNISON.

Against a background of rising inflation Biffa’s initial pay offer to staff for 2022/23 was just 3.5%. This was deemed by staff as “insulting” and UNISON went into negotiations seeking to gain a much better deal.

Biffa had offered no pay award in 2020/21, and only 1.75% in 2021/22. This led UNISON members in the depot, who had worked throughout the pandemic and seen years of below inflation pay awards, to say enough is enough.

At the start of the year UNISON was preparing a ballot for industrial action, as the employer’s offer went nowhere near to achieving the aspirations of members.

Members then overwhelmingly voted for strike action. This strengthened the hand of UNISON negotiators who were able to secure a new deal worth between 6.4% and 7.4% to workers.

UNISON members then voted overwhelmingly to accept the new offer.

UNISON South East regional organiser Mark Hammond said: “This was a magnificent show of solidarity from staff at the Ashford depot and goes to show what can be achieved when workers stand together and refuse to be taken for granted.

“Years of below inflation pay awards were no way to treat workers who had sacrificed so much to keep essential services running throughout the various lockdowns.

“Other employers need to take note of this and pay staff what they deserve.”