Talks ongoing as bin collection workers demonstrate in Workington

Talks are ongoing between Allerdale Waste Services and employees who are striking in a dispute over pay.

Workers are looking for equal pay with colleagues who do the same job in other parts of the county.

The bin collection workers say that they won't return to their jobs until they get parity with their colleagues who work just a few miles away.

Staff in the former Allerdale Council area were historically paid less than their counterparts in Copeland and Carlisle. Now that all those authorities have been merged into the new Cumberland Council, they say they should be paid the same.

Ryan Armstrong, Regional Officer Unite, said: "The old Copeland District drivers are on £14.44 an hour, our drivers are on £11.99. Our loaders up at Allerdale are on £10.90 and down at the old Copeland it's £11.81 and what we're saying is we're six miles down the road and the guys are doing the same job.

"The guys are saying we want the same sort of money and terms and conditions but predominantly the dispute is about pay."

With the dispute into its fourth month it's having an impact on the lives of all the strikers but they remain committed to continuing until a satisfactory resolution is reached.

Carl Shepherd, a refuse collection driver said: "The morale is still good but we are here to prove a point, we're here until we get some resolve out of it.

Scott Kennedy has not had his recycling collected for weeks. Credit: ITV

"You've just got to cut back, you're cutting back and cutting back week in and week out."

Jamie Bell is also a waste refuse worker. He said: "It was an absolute last resort and I think the public are 100% behind us going by all the social media and stuff like that.

"We can't see how we are doing wrong because we're not asking for a pay rise, we're asking for pay parity."

Scott Kennedy is a Wigton resident who has not has his recycling collected in recent weeks.

He said: "We're still waiting on our recycling to be collected. The garden bins are full to overflowing, cardboard bins are overflowing, so is all our recycling, everything is having to go into the normal household waste.

"We only have small bins for that and in a house of four that doesn't last half a week."

This dispute has now been going on for 15 weeks with the two sides unable to reach an agreement. But there is the first glimmer of a possible settlement. The union says the talks at ACAS this week were "progressive" and it's expecting an improved offer from Allerdale Waste Services.

More talks are scheduled for next week

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