Formal notice has been issued of a ballot of refuse collectors for potential strike action and GMB Union claims it could mean a walkout next month.

Until May 27, members employed by Isle of Wight Council's waste contractor, Amey, are being asked if they would support action over pay.

Any potential strike could take place as early as June 13, GMB Union said today (Friday), just days before the Isle of Wight Festival. 

GMB wants loaders and pickers to get £12.50 per hour, cage drivers and all driver and grab operatives to get £13.25 per hour and HGV drivers  to get £15 per hour.  

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Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "Even though we have issued notice of the ballot, which opens next week, GMB have made it clear that we are ready to negotiate a pay deal with Amey at any time to suit the employer. 

"The current imposed 4.21 per cent pay increase on what are already low paid jobs at Amey is in fact a pay cut and totally dismissive of the daily struggle our members have just surviving and living within workplace poverty.

"GMB members don’t want to strike...the fact is that they will, because they can’t afford not to." 

A spokesperson for Amey, Isle of Wight Council's contractor dealing with bin lorries, and tips and recycling centres, as well as for delivering the much-delayed energy from waste plant on Forest Road, said: "We put a high value on the work carried out by our employees on the Isle of Wight, and we have offered a pay increase of 4.21 per cent, in line with the Real Living Wage increase that came into effect on April 1.

"The salary package our staff receive is enhanced with pay on bank holidays and available overtime.

"Our base salary package is in the mid-pay range for staff in this sector.

"This comes with an extensive benefits package, recently been enhanced including increased paid leave and life insurance.

"Since Amey took on the contract, in November of 2015, wages for our drivers have increased 27 per cent and we continue to ensure our rates are competitive, but the request of an additional increase in wages of more than 30 per cent in 2022 is fundamentally unsustainable."