Waste Disposal Industrial Action: Frequently Asked Questions

Who is striking?

GMB and Unite trade union members in the Council's waste and recycling collection services voted in favour of industrial action.

Why union members took the decision to strike?

The dispute relates to operational issues raised earlier this year. An independent investigation which was commissioned in September is underway. Despite the ongoing investigation, the Council is committed to resolving the dispute and discussions are continuing.

When did the strike take place?

The strike action ran for four days, from Tuesday 14 November to Friday 17 November 2023 inclusive.

I am a resident. Will my bin be collected during the strike action?

There will be no collections of the grey household refuse bin, blue recycling bin or green garden waste bin during the industrial action period.

Residents are advised to reduce their waste as much as possible and recycle responsibly.

Normal collections will resume from 21 November. From this date, please present the bin which is due for collection. The bin not collected during the strike period will be emptied on its next scheduled collection day week commencing 27 November. There will be no catch-up service available.

We would urge residents to take excess waste to the Recycling Village and / or store non-perishable and recyclable material until their next collection.

But my bin has not been collected this week (7 November to 10 November)

Operatives are currently taking action short of strike which is impacting on the delivery of services ahead of full industrial action.

Why can't you provide a skeleton service and prioritise the collection of grey household waste bins.

Almost the entire waste collection crew is expected to take industrial action.

The crews normally collect grey household bins and blue recycling bins each week, depending on the area.

Even after considering the collection of grey bins alone, we simply do not have the resources available to provide a waste collection service during the period of industrial action.

Why don't your business continuity plans account for industrial action?

It would be impossible to plan and cost huge amounts of council taxpayers' money to have large numbers of staff on standby in the event of a strike. We hope disruption will be minimal with collections returning the following week.

What is the Council doing to minimise the impact of the strike on residents and businesses?

Residents are being asked to manage their waste as best they can, to reduce their waste and recycle responsibly. To support residents, the Council has arranged for additional slots to be made available at the Recycling Village. Book a slot.

Businesses are reminded that they are not able to dispose of their waste at the Recycling Village.

Will I get a refund on my Council Tax because my bin has not been collected?

We understand any disruption to bin collections is frustrating.

The Council has a duty to set a balanced budget prior to the financial year. Part of this budget setting process includes setting the Council Tax to cover social care, education, libraries, road maintenance, streetlighting, cleansing, planning and waste collection.

Council Tax is a tax not a service charge. Households legally have to pay their Council Tax even if services are disrupted or if people don't use a certain service.

Why can't I check my bin calendar online?

Residents can check their bin calendar online for the weeks leading up to, and after, the planned industrial action.

The calendar has been suspended for the week 14 to 17 November inclusive to avoid confusion. These pages will be reinstated after the strike action.

I am a garden waste subscriber. Will I get a refund for the missed collection?

There will be no refunds given as stated in the Terms and Conditions.

The Council commits to provide a minimum of 13 collections per season and this is being honoured.

The season is due to finish on 1 December 2023, with residents receiving a collection before the season ends so that green bins will be emptied before heading into the winter season.

I am a trade waste subscriber. What will happen to Trade Waste Collections?

Please bear with us and we will collect commercial waste when normal business resumes.

Why do I have to wait for my next collection?

We will not have the resources to do a catch-up collection without impacting on normal waste collection services resuming.

Will excess waste be collected in the week following industrial action?

Please store any excess waste and place it in the bin once it has been emptied when services resume.

Residents also have the option to take any excess waste to the Recycling Village.

Are you expecting more fly-tipping incidents?

We have taken this into consideration and will be extra vigilant during over this period. We would ask residents to support us and report any incidents of illegal waste disposal incidents so that action can be taken. Please report any incidents to South Tyneside Council: Report it

I have a bulky waste collection booked the week of planned industrial action. What will happen to that booking.

There will be no bulky waste collections during the week of the strike.

Alternative arrangements are being made with residents affected being contacted directly with a new date for their bulky waste collection.

For more information see, Industrial Action Impact on Bin Collections.