Rubbish piles up as bin strike continues

PEOPLE in the Kingswood area still have to take their own recycling to drop-off points as the bin strike continues.

Food waste, green bin, bulky waste and recycling collections have been suspended since June 26 because of a pay dispute between the union Unite and refuse collection company Suez.

Some staff are still working so fortnightly black bin rounds have continued.

Union members rejected an 8  per cent pay offer from Suez for this year, calling it a “significant real terms pay cut”, as it is well below the rate of inflation. 

Suez believes its offer is “fair and competitive” but says Unite has asked for a 15 per cent increase this year, which would mean an overall rise of 22 per cent over two years.

South Gloucestershire Council leader Claire Young and co-leader Ian Boulton said: “We have no legal or contractual power to force Suez or Unite to the table, but it is not fair or reasonable for the council or local residents to be held hostage to negotiations that are not yet happening.

“We are calling on both sides to be true to their word and sit down to resolve their dispute now.”

Unite regional officer Ken Fish said he was hopeful talks could resume soon, saying: “We were struggling to get the employer to engage with us and have meaningful dialogue.

“But I have been contacted by Suez and they are trying to table proposed dates for us to reconvene some form of pay negotiation, which I’m hoping will be a positive progression from where we are now.”

Suez has again apologised to residents for disruption caused by the strikes.

The council has set up ‘deposit points’ 

 for people to take food waste and recycling during the strike.

Among these are Page Road short stay car park in Staple Hill, Cleve RFC car park at Cossham Street, Mangotsfield, and the Lyde Green Park and Ride in Willowherb Road, which are open from 8am to 2pm on weekdays. ‘Bring banks’ have also been opened in Warmley and Barrs Court, but there have been problems at these sites because they are open 24 hours a day and have been “left to overfill”.

Conservative Cllr  Sam Bromiley posted pictures of dumped rubbish at the sites online and at a cabinet meeting in July he called on the LibDem/Labour run council to act. 

The council’s Sort It centres in Mangotsfield, Yate and Thornbury have extra facilities to take more recycling and black bin waste, but long queues have been reported during the strike action.

A spokesperson said: “Fortnightly black bin collections continue to be prioritised to ensure the disposal of waste such as personal hygiene items, medical waste, nappy sacks and pet waste. Please put your black bin out on your normal scheduled collection day.Please do not put any other containers out.”