Planned Strike Action to be Cut Short Following Further Talks

Posted by: Natalie Johnson on 01 May 2024 17:30

South Tyneside Council and GMB have confirmed that disruption to waste services will be paused following positive discussions.

The GMB has agreed that the Council's waste crew will return to work on Tuesday 7 May and action short of strike will be suspended to allow an action plan agreed in April to take effect.

The decision follows positive talks between the Council and GMB Trade Union on Wednesday 1 May.

The action plan agreed with all Trade Unions and the workforce last month will see a range of improvements implemented in response to feedback from the workforce, to better support them in their roles and provide a comprehensive reset of the service for residents. This will include investment in the balancing of bin rounds; renewal and upgrading of equipment; and stronger engagement, communication and behaviour protocols put into place.

The balancing of rounds was a fundamental ask of the waste crews that the Council has been keen to progress. It is hoped that by standing down further action a period of stability will allow full route optimisation work as requested by the workforce.

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 suspension comes six months after waste crews began industrial action, including action short of strike, in November 2023. A GMB re-ballot earlier this month also provides the potential for a further six months of action.

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."

This week's strike will continue with no bins being collected on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 May inclusive.

Operatives will restart a rolling programme of collections when they return to work next week (Tuesday 7 May).

Residents are advised to present all bins and leave them out until one is collected from Tuesday 7 May, this includes green waste bins for those subscribed to the garden waste collection service.

As part of ongoing attempts to mitigate the impact of the strike skips have already been reinstated across the borough. They will be available every day 9am - 3pm until Tuesday 14 May to support residents to dispose of excess waste. For full details of locations visit

Residents with waste related queries are encouraged to visit the Council's website at in the first instance, where they will find further information including a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).



Last modified: 01 May 2024 17:33