South Tyneside bin strikes to be cut short after discussions with unions

Bin crews began industrial action in November 2023. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Bin strikes in South Tyneside will be cut short following "positive discussions" between the council and Unions.

The GMB Union has agreed that members of its waste crew will return to work on Tuesday 7 May.

Action short of strike will be suspended to allow an action plan, which was agreed in April following feedback from the workforce and Unions, to take effect.

The action plan will see changes introduced such as more investment in balancing bin rounds, upgrading equipment and communication and behaviour protocols being put in place.

Stuart Wright, Director of Place and Communities at South Tyneside Council said: "I am glad that we have been able to agree a way forward that not only cuts the current period of strike action short, but that ends action short of strike and ensures that we have that much needed period of stability we’ve been looking for.

"We have gone to great lengths to engage with and listen to the concerns of our workforce.

"The action plan gives all parties a constructive way forward and we will now press ahead to deliver it. We need everyone on board to bring about the improvements to the service and working conditions that the workforce has asked for.

"I’d like to once again thank the people of South Tyneside for their patience in what has been a challenging period for the borough."

The news has also been welcomed by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

Bin crews began industrial action in November 2023, with a GMB re-ballot providing the potential for action to continue for a further six months.

Mark Wilson, GMB Organiser said: "I am pleased that we have come to an agreement that helps us deliver the agreed plan and gives us the foundations to move forward positively.

"We are hopeful that we will be in a position to bring industrial action to an end following a period of stability, engagement, and investment in the service.

"All parties appreciate the level of disruption caused to the people of South Tyneside over the last six months but today we have agreed the foundations to bring an end to that in the longer term."

No bins being will be collected on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 May inclusive, but operatives will restart a rolling programme of collections when they return to work on Tuesday 7 May.

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