Bin collections in Eden affected as GMB members begin two weeks of strike action

Household waste collections are carried out by council contractor Urbaser. Credit: ITV Border

Refuse workers in Eden have begun two weeks of strike action in an ongoing dispute over pay.

Workers including drivers, loaders and cleaners are calling for a pay rise to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.

GMB Union members of the council contractor Urbaser, voted in favour of strike action between Monday 2 and Friday 13 October.

Urbaser are urging residents to continue placing their blue bags, for general household waste, out for collection as per their regular schedule. If the bag is not collected, they should leave it in place and they will try and collect it the following day.

Workers picketed the depot on Old London Road in Penrith Credit: ITV Border

The strike does not affect recycling or green waster collections as these are provided under a different contract.

Andy Turner, Regional Operations Manager at Urbaser said: "We are proactively taking measures to address this situation. Resources will be deployed on a daily basis to minimise any inconvenience.

“We hope to reengage in constructive discussions with GMB Union in the near future, but in the meantime, we wish to reassure residents that our main priority remains the continuity of front-line services.”

Michael Hall, GMB regional organiser, said: “All these workers are asking for is fair pay. They deserve a decent wage for the vital work they do. The only realistic way to achieve this is to bring the service back in house, but Urbaser bosses don’t want to hear it.

“We are happy to talk anytime to resolve this dispute. We urge Penrith council/the employer to speak to us and sort this out.”

A spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness council said: "We are obviously disappointed that the recent negotiations on a pay deal between the union and the contractor have not been resolved.

"This action may result in some disruption to our contracted waste and environmental services and we appreciate that this will be frustrating for our residents in the Eden area."

Council-operated recycling ‘Bring Sites’ and Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) will continue to open and operate as normal during the period of industrial action. 

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