A Tower Hamlets bin strike branded a “health hazard” has been brought to an end after workers reached an agreement with the council.
Refuse had piled up for days in the east London borough , with furious residents slamming the state of the streets as “ridiculous”, a “health hazard” and an “ongoing rat buffet”.
But now workers have voted to accept a fresh offer from the local authority which gave them an extra £750 on top of the national pay offer of a £1,925 rise.
Council workers who are members of Unite the union began striking on September 18 over a pay dispute with their employer.
Tower Hamlets council had said private waste contractors had been hired to clear the build-up from Saturday, after safety concerns were raised by the borough’s fire service, and that it was reallocating non-striking staff to cover missed collections.
The authority, which sits on the outskirts of the Square Mile with historic landmarks including the Tower of London and Tower Bridge in its vicinity, is also known for its East End sites, such as Cable Street and Spitalfields Market.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman previously said the strike was a response to the “very real cost of living crisis” but that the council was “naturally disappointed”.
A Unite spokesperson told City A.M. a revised offer from the council had been received earlier today in a bid to end the industrial action by more than 200 refuse collectors and street cleaners.
Earlier this month Unite said the offer was below the rate of inflation and amounted to a real terms pay cut. The strike was originally set to last until Sunday, October 1.
Unite regional officer Nick West said: “The strike action inevitably caused major disruption. This was entirely avoidable if managers had taken the situation seriously from the outset.”
He added: “Our members were determined to secure a fair pay deal so the intervention of the mayor of Tower Hamlets played a part in helping to resolve this dispute.”
Workers in Newham who were striking over similar pay issues are set to return to work after their dispute was settled yesterday.
All council workers from grades one to three received a £750 payment and agency workers were brought in house.
A council spokesperson said: “While dialogue has been ongoing with Unite the Union throughout, the council also began negotiations last week to see if a local resolution could be found which could result in an end to the strike.”