Video has emerged of a waste truck allegedly hitting strikers protesting outside a depot yesterday (March 7).

A picket supervisor on the picket line at Hills Municipal Collections’ base at Trowbridge says that he was hit on the arm and his colleague was hit on the shoulder by a bins truck that did not stop when they approached it to ask it not to cross the picket line.

Gary Palmer, regional organiser for the GMB union, told this newspaper that bin workers picketing Hills bases at Trowbridge and Salisbury yesterday were hit by bin collection vehicles leaving the depots on the first day of the strike.

Mr Palmer said the strikers at both depots are now “very, very angry”.

He said the police were informed after the alleged incidents and that the workers concerned were sent for medical checks.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Striking refuse collectors at Hills Waste depot at Riverway picketingStriking refuse collectors at Hills Waste depot at Riverway picketing

The strike, which is set to last for two weeks, was called because workers wanted a seven per cent pay rise and the company offered two per cent.

Last week Hills increased its offer, to a figure that the GMB union indicated was less than seven per cent, but this was rejected by the union’s members, who are also striking at Hills’ Calne depot.

At the Trowbridge site today picket supervisor Nick Day spoke about what happened at yesterday’s alleged incident.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Picket supervisor Nick Day, left, with police at the Hills depot at Trowbridge todayPicket supervisor Nick Day, left, with police at the Hills depot at Trowbridge today

He said: “There’s a 5mph speed limit along the road. Yesterday morning at around 7am myself and my colleague, as you are allowed to do legally on a picket line, went to approach a lorry to ask him to reconsider crossing a picket line.

“The lorry did not stop and it hit myself and my colleague. I got hit on the arm and my colleague got hit on the shoulder.

“We both reported it to the police, we’re still waiting for any feedback on that. It’s all on video, so we’ve got it in the public domain.

“We’re actually disgusted that it’s completely broken the law in terms of driving and health and safety.

“Our members here are crossing back and forward across the road as pedestrians and the lorries have stopped, hopefully they won’t want to run over any pedestrians. The police are saying it’s potentially obstruction.”

Mr Day added: “Hopefully we won’t have to move off site. It’s very peaceful and no trouble’s been caused at all. All the guys are doing is walking across the road as pedestrians, it’s good humoured.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Union rep Nick Day says he was hit by a refuse lorry on Monday at the Hills Waste depot at RiverwayUnion rep Nick Day says he was hit by a refuse lorry on Monday at the Hills Waste depot at Riverway

Mr Day said that Wiltshire Council’s claim that bins were been collected as normal was not true.

He said: “The council has been putting out propaganda saying that bins are being collected as normal, that is incorrect. There are 20 trucks in there at the moment and they would all have been leaving by now, so bins are not being collected as normal.”

He called on Hills management to resume talks with the GMB union.

“Really we need to get everyone back round the table with an improved offer and it can be resolved, it can be done tomorrow, the will has to be there from the other side,” he said.

“I hope the residents of Wiltshire will get in touch with the council and say they want their bins collected and the bins will be collected once the guys get a proper pay rise that meets their cost of living expectations.

“Some of these guys are on £9 an hour, they’ve been out during the pandemic making sure Wiltshire’s rubbish is collected and they just want a decent pay rise, they haven’t had one for four years.”

Strikers in 'clear breach of regulations governing lawful picketing'

In a statement, Hills Municipal Collections said: "Yesterday morning GMB Union representatives blockaded both the Stephenson Road, Churchfields Depot in Salisbury and the Riverway Depot in Trowbridge, stopping waste collection vehicles and staff from leaving the sites. 

"It is therefore very worrying and disappointing to hear reports that two striking pickets were allegedly struck by a vehicle attempting to legally exit from a depot. We are extremely relieved that no serious injury has been caused to the two individuals.   

"The incident is being investigated, including a review of the vehicle footage, and the matter has been reported to Wiltshire Police.

"Preventing vehicles from leaving any Hills depot is a clear breach of the regulations governing lawful picketing. Clear guidance on crossing picket lines was issued to all Hills employees, customers and suppliers in advance of the industrial action."

UPDATE: Police confirm enquiries ongoing

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “We are aware of protest activity at waste sites in Stephenson Road, Salisbury, and Riverway, Trowbridge.

“At both sites we have received reports of possible slow-speed minor collisions involving vehicles and those attending the protest, but nobody has been injured.

“Officers have attended both sites to engage with the small groups in attendance and will remain at the scene as long as they are required.

“Our enquiries regarding any offences are ongoing.”