Ellie Ames 27 September 2023

Unite and council reach deal to end waste strike

Unite and council reach deal to end waste strike image
Image: Yau Ming Low / Shutterstock.com

Waste service workers and street cleaners return to work today after negotiations between Tower Hamlets Council and the trade union Unite put an end to industrial action.

More than 200 workers were striking after rejecting a national pay increase of £1,925 – which Unite said was a real-terms pay cut – and for fairer treatment for agency staff.

Tower Hamlets executive mayor Lutfur Rahman said: ‘We found ourselves in a difficult position because the strike was over a national pay dispute.

‘However, with no resolution in sight, we had to act to see if we could negotiate a local solution.’

The deal means workers will receive a £750 one-off payment and the 50 agency staff will be brought in-house on full council terms and conditions.

Strike action had begun on 18 September and was set to last for up to four weeks.

Tower Hamlets said it had begun employing private contractors to manage the accumulation of waste because of safety concerns raised by the borough’s fire commander.

Unite regional officer Nick West said: ‘The strike action inevitably caused major disruption to bin collections and street cleaning services.

‘This was entirely avoidable if managers had taken the situation seriously from the outset.’

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