South Gloucestershire residents battling 'maggots' and overflowing bins as strikes drag on

  • Watch Max Walsh's report.

Residents in South Gloucestershire are facing a summer of disruption as waste collectors say they're going to go on strike until September.

Contractor Suez normally collect recycling and food waste - but staff initially walked out for a week last month.

Now 150 Suez workers who are members of the Unite union have gone on strike again in an ongoing dispute over pay, having rejected an 8% increase.

It's led to the council establishing temporary spaces where local residents can come and dump their waste.

Ken Fish, a regional industrial officer for Unite, has defended the strike and is calling for the council to put pressure on Suez.

He said: "These members, some of them earn as little as £11.53 an hour. They work in all weather and all conditions, they advise me they're walking 15 to 20 miles a day.

"Sorting waste, you know, a very physically demanding job and it's not reflected in pay.

"Our members do not want to be on strike. They're ready to go back to work, they want to work, but we need to find a remedy. We're asking Suez to come forward with a reasonable pay offer - a fair pay offer. That's all we're asking for: a fair pay offer."

South Gloucestershire Council has now created areas for residents to dump their waste.

South Gloucestershire Council has said it does still have enough staff to collect all the black bins, but that the temporary areas for the other bins will have to do until the pay dispute is resolved.

It added that it has written to both Suez and Unite today (4 July) and asked them both to explain "what actions have been taken to date to settle the industrial action and to set out how you will resolve the dispute between yourselves."

The open letter has been penned by leader Cllr Claire Young and co-leader Cllr Ian Boulton.

In it, they wrote: "We believe that residents are owed a clear explanation of your actions to date as well as the details of how you are seeking to resolve the dispute, so that waste services can return to normal, and we can continue the collective effort and do even better."

Ken from Unite has said he would like to see more from the council but that they will not currently accept Suez's current offer and are pushing for a 15% pay increase this year.

But if a resolution is not found, then residents in South Gloucestershire may experience a very smelly summer.