South Gloucestershire co-leaders, Cllrs Claire Young and Ian Boulton, have welcomed the public responses from Suez and Unite the Union that they want to return to the negotiation table in order to resolve their ongoing dispute.
Waste collection staff in South Gloucestershire are in dispute with their employer, Suez, over pay levels. Suez deliver waste collection and recycling services in the district on behalf of the local authority. The council stressed to both sides through an open letter [http://sites.southglos.gov.uk/newsroom/community/open-letter-industrial-dispute-between-unite-the-union-and-suez], that it is vital that they negotiate urgently to resolve the issue.
Acting on behalf of residents the open letter underlined the fact that the matter will only be resolved if the parties talk to each other.
Cllrs Young and Boulton said: “Local people are justifiably angry that the service is not being delivered. Prior to this industrial action, waste collections were among the most well regarded of council-funded services and residents worked with the service to reduce their waste, increase recycling and reduce landfill.
“Having made this very clear last week in our open letter, we are encouraged that both sides are saying that they are willing to talk, but now they need to sit down and find a solution urgently.
“We have no legal or contractual power to force Suez or Unite to the table, but it is not fair or reasonable for the Council or local residents to be held hostage to negotiations that are not yet happening. We are calling on both sides to be true to their word and sit down to resolve their dispute now.”
The council is doing all it can to minimise the impact of the industrial action by working Suez to help direct the staff they have available to provide the best level of service possible under the circumstances.
Black bin collections are continuing to be prioritised, as this will dispose of waste such as personal hygiene items, medical waste, nappy sacks and pet waste.
Special arrangements for extra deposit points at a number of locations across the district, in addition to the Sort It centres in Yate, Mangotsfield and Thornbury, have been made so that residents can take a range of recyclable materials and food waste can be taken to additional locations around South Gloucestershire.
For more information about these deposit points, as well as the latest information about any new measures that are put in place, please visit the council website: www.southglos.gov.uk/servicedisruption.
Suez response to the open letter from South Gloucestershire Council Co-Leaders: http://sites.southglos.gov.uk/newsroom/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2023/07/SUEZ-response-to-open-letter-5.pdf