Rubbish expected on streets as bin strike in Newham, London, looms

London residents have been warned weeks’ worth of rubbish could pile up on the streets as refuse workers walk out on strike for a week.

Around 130 loaders, sweepers and drivers employed by Newham Council are poised to strike from Saturday until Sept 3 over pay and conditions.

The council said that it had attempted to reach an agreement with Unite The Union after union bosses demanded a 10 per cent pay increase.

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said the council had offered employees an increase of £2,229 for all staff, equating to wage increases of between 7.8 to 9.9 per cent.

In the weeks before and after the strike, the council expects waste, recycling and street cleansing services to be disrupted.

Waste and recycling from houses is unlikely to be collected during the strike period if the council does not have enough members of staff in work to run the services.

Procedures to help residents

The council has put into place a number of procedures to help residents if the strike goes ahead.

To assist in reducing waste on the streets the council will be setting up a number of drop-off points. Between Aug 27 and Sept 11, residents can take bagged household rubbish to temporary drop-off sites listed on their website. A re-use and recycling centre is also available for residents to take their waste to.

The claims raised by Unite are “for sick pay to be paid on contractual Saturdays following or preceding bank holidays, an increase in overtime rates to double time on Sundays and time and a half on all other days and a retention payment of 10 per cent of annual basic salary”.

In response, Mayor Fiaz said: “That would mean an additional £1 million per year for the service and if applied to the whole council, tens of millions more per annum. Simply put, the council doesn’t have that level of money spare, as all our money is spent on vital services for all our Newham residents.”

She added: “If the week-long strike action does go ahead, it will cause disruption to refuse and recycling collections for several weeks as the service area catches up with the backlog of collections across the borough. I know that senior officers are doing all they can to resolve the dispute with the union and as soon as we have further information, I will provide an update including the contingency plans we will be putting in place.”

Scottish bin strikes spread

It comes as bin strikes across Scotland spread on Friday as workers walked out in more areas.

GMB Scotland members in 16 council areas walked out for four days of action until Monday, coinciding with existing action in Edinburgh.

Unison members in waste and recycling also joined the strike action, walking out in eight council areas for four days from Friday.

It comes after Unite members working in waste services at 13 councils walked out on Wednesday, joining workers in Edinburgh who began strike action on Aug 18.

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