Bin and recycling collections to resume as strike action paused for workers’ ballot

Photo of a recycling collection vehicle.
A Suez kerbside recycling collection vehicle in South Gloucestershire.

Kerbside waste and recycling collections in South Gloucestershire are set to resume in full from Monday (31st July 2023) after strike action was suspended.

The Little Stoke Sort It recycling centre, which has been closed due to a lack of staff durng the strike, will reopen from the same date.

Members of Unite the Union in South Gloucestershire have been in dispute with their employer, SUEZ, over pay levels. SUEZ is responsible for waste and recycling services in the district on behalf of the local authority.

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Kerbside collections of garden waste, food waste and recycling have been fully suspended since Monday 26th June after around 150 union members embarked on industrial action which they later said would run until September.

However, Unite announced on Friday 28th July that it will be pausing industrial action for three days while it ballots its members on an improved pay offer from employer SUEZ.

Unite regional officer Ken Fish said:

“As an act of goodwill our members have agreed to suspend strike action while they are balloted on the new offer.”

However, a Unite spokesperson warned:

“If the offer is rejected, strikes will begin again on Thursday 3rd August.”

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Normal collections to resume

South Gloucestershire Council has confirmed that the normal schedule of kerbside collections will resume on Monday 31st July and residents are advised to put their waste and recycling out on their usual collection day.

South Gloucestershire Council co-leaders, Cllrs Claire Young and Ian Boulton said:

“We have been clear from the start that a resolution needs to be found between SUEZ and Unite as soon possible to end the significant disruption being caused to our residents. We are pleased that Unite are recommending that their members who work for SUEZ should accept this latest pay offer and hope that this signals a swift return to normal working for the benefit of everyone.”

“We have been doing all we can to minimise the impact of the disruption by working with SUEZ and the staff they have available to provide the best level of service possible in the circumstances.”

“We wholeheartedly thank our residents for their patience and the ongoing effort they have been putting into recycling and continuing to help the environment over the past weeks. Our residents have dealt with so much over the past weeks and we are pleased to let them know that kerbside collections will restart on Monday 31st July.”

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The changes in detail

Information correct on Saturday 29th July. Always check the council’s service status webpage for the latest situation.

Household collections

From Monday 31st July 2023 kerbside collections of black bins, recycling, food waste and garden waste will resume as normal.

Residents should put containers out on their usual collection dates, including garden waste bins for those who are subscribed.

🔗 Check your normal waste collection day

A council spokesperson said:

“We are expecting there to be a higher volume of recycling which will take the crews a bit longer to get round. If your recycling is not collected, please take it back in until the following week. Crews will not be revisiting missed collections.”

If your black or green bin is not collected, you should report it here.”

Garden waste subscribers

Garden waste subscribers can resume putting their green bin out on their usual collection date.

A council spokesperson said:

“Subscriptions will automatically be extended to cover the weeks lost due to the strike action. You do not need to contact us.”

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Sort It centres

The council’s Sort It centres will resume normal opening hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm every day.

The Little Stoke Sort It centre will also reopen from Monday 31st July 2023.

Residents are reminded that Little Stoke is a small site and cannot accept recycling [of the type normally collected at the kerbside]. You can check on this webpage what can be accepted at Little Stoke.

A council spokesperson warned:

“If there are long queues, we may have to close the gates early to enable everyone to get round and empty their containers before the site shuts. This will be reviewed daily and only implemented if necessary.”

Additional recycling sites

The additional recycling sites set up by the council during the strike will stop operating at 2pm on Friday 28th July 2023 and all vehicles and containers will be removed from the sites.

Any waste or recycling left at them after this time will be considered fly-tipping and dealt with accordingly.

Revive shop at Thornbury

Speaking of the Revive shop at the Thornbury Sort It centre, a council spokesperson said:

“This will remain closed until week commencing Monday 14th August 2023 at the earliest while we focus on kerbside collections. We will review this start date over the next week.”

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Industrial action ends

UPDATE added 3rd August 2023.

Members of Unite the Union have accepted the latest pay offer of 10.1 percent made by SUEZ, South Gloucestershire Council’s waste contractor.

This means industrial action is now over and collections will continue to resume as normal.

More info: Service disruption due to strike action (SGC)

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