Further bin strikes announced in South Tyneside

Further strike action is expected to take place from 1-14 May. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Bin crews have voted to take up further strike action across South Tyneside.

The latest walk out is expected to take place from 1-14 May inclusive.

Strikes began last year after bin workers raised a grievance with the council in June over claims of bullying and mismanagement.

An independent investigation into the grievance is now said to have concluded, with findings presented to all parties and not challenged.

South Tyneside Council has said it is "disappointed" there will be more industrial action following positive ACAS talks last month, and that a detailed action plan was agreed by all trade unions and the workforce to move forward.

In response, the GMB Union said that while work had been taking place to address many issues, it was "unable to resolve the main area of the dispute relating to the allegations of bullying and the culture that exists in the service."

Some bin workers are said to be taking action on non-strike days, meaning some bins are not being collected on residents' scheduled collection days.

To mitigate this, the council is rolling out a programme of collections across the borough.

Skips have also been reinstated across the area, which will be available everyday.

Rubbish is littering residential roads. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The GMB union said it was "legally obliged" to reballot members as it was unable to resolve the ongoing dispute over the last six months.

It told ITV Tyne Tees that 96% voted in favour of further strike action, and it notified the Council almost 2 weeks ago.

"We are disappointed to have to take further action and will always explore avenues of resolution to bring this dispute to an end, but our members have to be certain that they will not be subject to any more bullying at work, and we will continue to negotiate with management until we can get to that position," the union said.

Jonathan Tew, Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council said: “I know that this will be another blow for the people of South Tyneside.

"We continue to do everything within our power to avoid strike action, but without any communication from GMB as to their reasons for taking further industrial action, it is proving impossible to resolve this dispute through the usual channels."

Mr Tew added: “We have worked tirelessly to engage with and listen to the concerns of the workforce.

"We’ve met 30 times with crew members and trade union officials in the last four months alone and maintained regular communication throughout, feedback from the crew has been positive. The agreed action plan addresses concerns and gives all parties a constructive way forward.

“I’m sorry that our residents and businesses have had to endure this ongoing action despite all efforts being made by the Council to bring it to an end.”

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