Refuse workers in east Suffolk will be going on strike next week in a dispute over pay, which is likely to affect bin collections for thousands of the district’s residents. 

Union UNISON, which represents staff employed by waste management firm Norse, has said the walkout will take place for a week from November 21 unless an agreement is reached over pay. 

Cameron Matthews, the union’s eastern regional organiser, called on Norse to offer an increase in wages that ‘dealt with the rising cost of living.’ 

In addition to the strike, staff will also ‘work to rule,’ only carrying out contractual duties, from Wednesday to Friday (November 16-18). 

The company has offered workers a £1,925 rise negotiated for most directly employed local government staff, as well as an additional 75p an hour.  

However, the union has said the pay on the East Suffolk contract is so low, workers would still be struggling despite the increase. 

In particular, the union cited Norse colleagues working in Hampshire who were already earning the amount sought by the striking east Suffolk workers. 

The workers voted 96% in favour of the strike in a ballot conducted by the union in October and are also calling for contractual sick pay. 

Mr Matthews said: “Year upon year of declining wages have left East Suffolk’s refuse workers struggling to make ends meet. Some of them are having to sleep on relatives’ sofas or use food banks to eat. 

“It can’t be right that people doing exactly the same job for the same employer in Hampshire are earning more than workers here.  

“All we’re asking for is a wage that lifts people out of poverty. We desperately hope that Norse and the council will come to their senses and offer workers what they’re asking for so they can keep collecting our bins and keep our streets clean.” 

A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said: “A generous offer has been made to operational staff by Waveney Norse and Suffolk Coastal Norse Ltd, which in some cases would see salaries rise by 17pc.

"In addition, a commitment has been made to a full review of terms and conditions, with the possibility of a further productivity-related pay review.

"Everyone is facing cost-of-living pressures currently and in these difficult times, we have worked hard to seek a resolution, in good faith."