30 May 2024

Recycling collections suspended for longer due to additional strike action

Due to further strike action confirmed by the GMB Union, Wiltshire Council and its contractor Hills Municipal Collections have decided to suspend kerbside recycling collection services for a further two weeks.

This will not affect household waste or garden waste collections, which will continue.

The GMB Union, which is in dispute with Hills Municipal Collection, has confirmed they will be striking until at least 2nd April 2022.

This means that recycling collection services won’t resume until the week of 4th April, and not the previously stated 21th March.

People are asked not to put their blue-lidded bins and black boxes out until their next collection day from 4th April onwards. There will be no recycling collections until 4th April.

According to the council, when recycling services do resume from 4th April, waste crews will accept additional materials that don’t fit in blue-lidded bins or black boxes, so people are asked to leave them in bags, bin bags and crates and they will be picked up if they are left next to their containers.

However, if people are unable to store additional materials at home they can take them to their nearest household recycling centre (HRC). All Wiltshire HRCs are operating as normal.

The council is focusing its resources on emptying household waste bins, and garden waste collection will also continue. Given that around 90,000 households use the paid for garden waste service, compared to around 230,000 who have blue-lidded bins and black boxes, postponing garden waste wouldn’t provide enough resources to also collect recycling.

People are asked to put out their household and garden waste bins out on their normal collection days, and if for any reason they aren’t emptied as scheduled then they will be the following day where possible.

The council says that despite the challenges and the ongoing suspension of the kerbside recycling service, good progress have been made on the collection rounds this past week.

All catch-up work to empty household and garden waste from 7th March has finished, and most scheduled collections for this week (14th March 2022) have so far been completed. However, this continues to be a fast moving situation and the council will keep residents updated on any significant disruption.

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Waste, commented, “This further strike action by the GMB union is hugely frustrating and unfortunately we have no other option but to suspend recycling collection until 4 April. We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause people. Two more weeks of strikes by the GMB are even more disappointing considering that UNITE and UNISON members have accepted the pay offer on the table from Hills Municipal Collections.

“We know residents will be equally frustrated and view the strike extension and suspension of recycling collection as a very unwelcome development, but collecting household waste has to be our priority. Doing a mix and match service with garden waste and recycling would be a very complicated and a logistical challenge. We know that a month’s worth, or even more, of recycling waste will start to mount up, so please do visit our household recycling centres if you need to – they are open and operating as normal.

“We hope we don’t see any of the challenging scenes we’ve seen at various picket lines at the depots recently and that those workers who aren’t involved in the industrial action are able to carry out their roles as safely and with as little disruption as possible, so that household waste collections can take place throughout the county.

“This ongoing dispute is between the GMB Union and Hills Municipal Collections and it’s in everyone’s best interests that it can be resolved as quickly as possible. We continue to thank residents for their patience during this time.”

Unrelated to the industrial action, most people’s household waste collection day changed from 28th February. If people aren’t sure what their collections day are they should check the online calendar here.

An industrial action FAQ page with more information can be found here.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty