Talks to end bin dispute break down without reaching agreement

Allerdale bins. Picture: ITV Border.
Talks have failed to bring an end to the dispute Credit: ITV Border

Disruption to bin collections in west Cumbria is set to continue after talks aimed at ending an industrial dispute failed to reach an agreement.

Members of the Unite and GMB unions at Allerdale Waste Services (AWS) have been on all-out strike since May leaving thousands of homes in towns including Cockermouth, Workington and Maryport without weekly collections.

The unions claim AWS staff are the lowest paid bin workers in Cumbria, but the company, which is owned by Cumberland Council, insists it has tabled a fair deal and offered a number of concessions.

Charles Holmes, managing director of Allerdale Waste Services said: "It is incredibly disappointing that we have reached this point in the negotiations whereby the trade unions are still refusing to accept an extremely fair offer which in the main, they themselves put forward. They wanted pay and terms and conditions to be comparable with other local waste services and the offer on the table would give them that.

“As the industrial action has lasted for almost 12 weeks without resolution, we are now left with no alternative but to consider further options. We will now be engaging with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) for mediation to determine the next steps in seeking a resolution.”

Unite regional officer Ryan Armstrong said: "Unite attended talks yesterday after being informed that the council would be putting forward an improved pay offer. This turned out to be completely false - no new offer was put forward that would have increased our members’ wages.

"The council needs to understand that our members’ resolve is as solid as a rock. Without a proper offer by 10 August the impact of the strikes will become much worse and the council will have to answer to the public for that.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...