Bin workers' strike action suspended as negotiations continue

North Somerset recycling and waste bins NSC

Collections will now continue next week - Credit: North Somerset Council

Bin workers and recycling centre staff in North Somerset have suspended planned strike action after negotiations.

Workers had planned to walk out in a series of strikes - starting next week - in a dispute over pay with the North Somerset Environment Company (NSEC), North Somerset Council's (HSC) supplier of waste services.

However, homeowners are now being told to put out their rubbish as usual, after talks between the NSEC and the GMB union which included industrial mediation service, ACAS.

A jointly agreed revised and improved offer has been determined and will be put to union members. 

In the meantime, to allow a ballot to take place of GMB members, the GMB has agreed to suspend planned strike action on the following four days this month:

Tuesday, April 12
Wednesday, April 13
Saturday, April 16 (Easter weekend)
Sunday, April 17 (Easter weekend)

North Somerset’s three recycling centres (Backwell, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare) will also open as normal.

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Recycling services are still suspended on Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22, so residents are therefore being asked not to present their recycling containers on those dates.

North Somerset’s three recycling centres (Backwell, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare) will also close on those days.

Residents who have their recycling collected on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will not be impacted. It is planned that black bin waste, garden waste and clinical waste collections will continue on those dates as usual.

The overtime ban imposed by the GMB remains in place for the period between Tuesday, April 12 and Saturday, April 20, meaning GMB members will not be able to work extra time to help NSEC catch-up with any backlog.

READ MORE: Advice for residents as bin workers' strike looms

Councillor Mike Solomon, NSC's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: "It’s encouraging to hear that talks are progressing well using ACAS’ mediation service and I’d like to thank GMB for their willingness to engage. 

"I’d also like to thank the team at NSEC for their efforts and the professional way that they are dealing with the industrial action process.

"Thanks must also go to our crews and those working in the recycling centres for their continued hard work while negotiations are ongoing.

"It’s a relief that next week’s strike action has been called off so residents will continue to receive collections and recycling centres will be open as usual.

"While negotiations are going well, we must remember that residents who have recycling collected on a Thursday and Friday are still impacted the following week. 
"The situation certainly isn’t over yet but we’re working really hard to limit the disruption.

"I’d like to repeat my thanks to residents for their patience, understanding and cooperation during this very challenging time."

Brian Veale, managing director at North Somerset Environment Company, said: "Significant progress has been made and I’m pleased with how negotiations are developing. 

"While I can’t disclose the details of the package, I can say that our focus remains on providing staff with a package of measures to give them stability. 

"This also allows NSEC to focus on developing, growing and maturing through its second and third years of trading.

"I hope that there will be a positive outcome from the GMB member ballot – there really are no winners when industrial action takes place."