Wiltshire Council condemns scenes at its depots during industrial action

Wiltshire Council has strongly condemned the actions of the GMB union at its depots, which has resulted in sites being blockaded during the ongoing industrial action and leading to major safety concerns.

Published 10 March 2022

Wiltshire Council has strongly condemned the actions of the GMB union at its depots, which has resulted in sites being blockaded during the ongoing industrial action and leading to major safety concerns.

On numerous occasions during the current industrial action between GMB and Hills Municipal Waste Collections, picket lines have exceeded the number of people typically allowed under picketing guidance and vehicles appear to have been intentionally prevented from leaving Wiltshire Council-run depots, which has put the safety of people at the sites at serious risk. Government picketing guidance is clear that staff not willing to strike and wishing to carry on with their normal duties must not be prevented from doing so.

The GMB approach has also resulted in more avoidable disruption being caused to waste services, with Wiltshire Council postponing recycling services until the week of 21 March.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:

"We completely respect people's right to strike, but we believe the actions of the GMB union at the picket lines have not been in the best interest of their members and are seriously putting people's safety at risk.

"We fully agree with the GMB when they say that health and safety is of paramount importance but their actions at this time are contributing to putting the safety of both their members and the vehicle crews at risk.

"Vehicles should not be being blocked from leaving our depots and picket lines should be positioned in a safe legal place. The number of pickets should not exceed the number of people allowed for in the accepted guidance.

"The scenes we've seen at our depots have not been acceptable and we hope the GMB union can help ensure that their members stay as safe as possible, and follow lawful picket line guidance in exercising their right to strike.

"These actions are leading to an even more adverse impact on our waste collection services and further disruption for our residents."

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Published 10 March 2022