Pictures shared on social media show black bin bags piled high in Thurrock as refuse workers take part in a three-week strike.
Thurrock council says the amount of rubbish shown in the picture above reflects a normal volume of weekly waste for the site in question.
Industrial action over proposed ‘pay cuts’ began last Tuesday (April 13) and is taking place across the entire borough, including towns like Tilbury, South Ockendon, Corringham, Stanford-le-Hope and Grays.
Unite the Union says the strikes are over “proposed £2,000 to £3,500 a year” pay cut, which will reportedly impact council workers in the unitary authority of Thurrock.
They say the proposal will adversely affect workers who have been providing key services throughout the pandemic and they have also criticised the lack of pay cuts for upper management.
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Thurrock Council confirmed that, during the strike, bin collections will be carried out up until 9am each working day during the three-week period, after which, workers will begin their strike, meaning only half of the regular collections are taking place.
It will continue for three weeks, excluding Monday, May 3, and conclude on Friday, May 7. Thurrock Council has put in place measures to try and ensure one full round of household waste collections will take place each week. Recycling, for example, will not be collected throughout this period.
However, Refuse Workers and Cleansers in Thurrock have hit out at the council, calling the plan ‘ineffective’, claiming it has “flopped completely” after they claim that black bin bags were left to pile up on the side of the road.
Justice For Refuse Workers and Cleansers shared photographs of the bin pile up on Facebook. They captioned the post: “Apparently the council’s plan to provide ‘an effective service’ has flopped completely. Not only are they not able to facilitate collection, they are now asking residents to dump their own rubbish.
“This raises the question as to why people are paying council tax, and what are people without cars supposed to do?
“We never wanted this. This is our borough too. Instead of the council trying to dig in its heels, creating a huge local mess in their efforts to take thousands off our overall pay – they should sit down with us and work out a plan how to take these cuts off the table.
“Attacking local key workers is plain wrong, and their intransigence is clearly failing. Local people see this for what it is. It has been a bad plan from start to finish. It’s time they took a fairer approach.”
However, Thurrock Council disputes the claims that waste has not been collected, and states that the bin lorry is actually in the pictures preparing for the collection. The council also claims the photographs are ‘misleading’.
A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said: “The photo you refer to is of waste left for collection for a block of flats and shows a normal volume of weekly waste for this site.
“The waste pictured was collected on the usual collection day. If you look at the third picture in the gallery in your link you will see the waste lorry about to make that collection in the background.
“The pictures are extremely misleading and do not represent the situation. There has been no issue of waste piling up in Thurrock.
“The vast majority of household waste collections have been made on time or no more than a day late and drive-through waste drop-off sites have been created throughout the borough for residents to take waste to if required.”