Fears of rubbish ‘on the streets’

RUBBISH could be left to pile up in Suffolk as refuse collectors stage an eight-day protest over pay.

The refuse collectors in Babergh and Mid Suffolk, employed by contractors Serco, are taking industrial action over the company’s refusal to meet their pay demands.

They will be working to rule for eight days from Wednesday, meaning bins not emptied during normal working hours will be left at the roadside.

A spokesman for Mid Suffolk District Council said refuse collectors were offered a 1.5% pay increase this year, the same as last year.

However, the spokesman said in previous years they had been awarded a 6% increase and an additional day’s holiday.

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When Serco refused to up their offer, members of the Unite union voted to stick to their contracted hours and refuse to work overtime.

“We are not sure what the impact will be,” said the council spokesman. “We are putting in all sorts of contingency measures to minimise the effect on residents.”

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During the protest the hazardous waste collection, covering medical waste, fridges and freezers, will be suspended as will the collection of bulk items.

Serco are assuring residents that bins will be emptied within 48 hours of their scheduled collection time and they are advising families to leave their bins at the kerbside.

If bins are not emptied within this time, residents can call the council helpline and a collection will be arranged.

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “This issue is clearly one between our contractor, Serco, and some parts of their workforce.

“However, we are hopeful that there will be a swift settlement that ensures any disruption to the services to our householders is kept to an absolute minimum.”

Defending their pay offer, a spokesman for Serco said: “Serco’s offer to the staff is in line with current market levels, and we are hopeful that industrial action will discontinue presently.

“During this action, Serco have put in place measures to ensure minimal disruption to the refuse and recycling collections service within Babergh and Mid Suffolk, and will ensure any missed collections are cleared as a matter of priority.”

To report a missed collection call the Council Helpline on 0845 606 6045.

Updates will also be posted on the district council websites and on their social networking sites.

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