Mid-Ulster workers' month-long strike in July and August sparks warning most bins won't be collected

Bin bags
People are being warned most waste may not be collected during the four-week strike. Credit: ITV News

Unite the Union affiliated workers in Mid Ulster are set to strike for a month from next week, the local council has confirmed.

The industrial action will begin on Monday, 25 July and continue until Sunday, 21 August.

It will largely affect bin collection services for the next four weeks.

A swimming pool in Greenvale will also close for a month.

It comes after Unite union members began a round of strikes this April, affecting councils, local authorities and the Education Authority.Union members rejected a 1.75% pay offer, saying it was too low given the rate of inflation impacting workers' living standards.

General Secretary of the Union Sharon Graham has said that "public sector workers face a choice of heating or eating" under current pay levels.Mid Ulster District Council said the strike action will 'heavily impact' waste collections in the two areas during the entire period of the strike.

Its website said: "While the Council will endeavour to collect bins where possible depending on the availability of staff on the given day, the likelihood is that regrettably, the vast majority of bins will not be emptied."The council warned that while no collections can be guaranteed, residents are being advised to leave their bins out for collection on the normal day by 7.30am and they will be emptied where there are sufficient crews to deliver a service.

If bins are not emptied, residents are being asked to take their bins back in from the kerbside and place them out again on their next scheduled collection day, where again they will be emptied if there are sufficient crews available. On occasions where the council has not been able to collect bins, it will accept at most two black bags per household on the next scheduled collection day, during the week commencing Monday 22 August.The council said it is anticipated that all recycling centres will remain open during the strike, and will accept all household waste during the four weeks.

Falls and Shankill leisure centre workers unite for a march against job cuts. Credit: Presseye

"However, this will be kept under review and any changes to operational hours necessary to ensure the health and safety of users and staff on site will be communicated in advance of implementation." Two swimming pools affected by strikes

The strikes also affect Cookstown and Greenvale Leisure Centres, where there will be no public group or intensive swimming lessons for the duration of the industrial action.

The swimming pool and health suite in Cookstown Leisure Centre will remain closed during the four weeks. 

The swimming pools and health suite will be closed in Greenvale Leisure Centre on Monday, 25 July only.

However, the council says the availability of the swimming and health suite at Greenvale will be reviewed on a daily basis, and it will update customers each day on the centres’ social media channels. 

The leisure centre's users were being warned there was likely to be restricted service provision during this period, and disruption to gym and fitness classes in both centres, with updates also issued daily via its social media channels. 

The Council anticipates that all other services and facilities, including cemeteries, play facilities, parks, arts and cultural facilities, will operate as normal. 

It added: "The council wishes to apologise to its residents for the regrettable and unavoidable impact on services as a result of the unilateral industrial action taken by Unite the Union, despite exhaustive discussions and a significantly enhanced pay offer on the part of the Council.

"It remains committed to engaging with the Joint Trade Union side in a spirit of co-operation and good faith." Further updates from Mid Ulster Council on the industrial action's impact on services can be found online and via the local authority's social media channels. 

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