PLANNED bin strikes have been cancelled by union bosses due to 'affordability' issues.

The strikes, which were due to take place this week from Wednesday to Friday, will not be going ahead, alongside a fourth round of strikes from April 6-8.

This follows periods in two consecutive weeks of industrial action earlier this month.

Regional Organiser Michael Hall said: "Unfortunately, the industrial action has been cancelled due to affordability.

"The membership can still hold their heads high, and they have drawn a line in the sand for future pay talks."

FCC Environment has said that it is very pleased this matter has now been concluded.

The dispute, which had been ongoing for almost 12 months, regarded a 2.2% payrise for workers.

GMB Union said that this amounted to a real-terms pay cut after inflation had been factored in.

But FCC Environment bosses said that the pay rise was 'fair' and pointed out that lower amounts had been accepted elsewhere in the country.

The workers demanded a 3% rise, which they later cut to 2.8%.

Now, the workers will return to their rounds with the original offer.

And the dispute was only regarding 2021 pay packets. Negotiations for the 2022 pay award can now begin.


The earlier March strikes


The rhetoric from both parties has been strong throughout the dispute.

Michael Hall said: "All these refuse collectors want is a wage they can live on. 

“We’re face the biggest fall in living standards in fifty years – since the days of rationing. 

“GMB members at FCC we a modest pay rise so they don’t have to choose between putting the heating on and feeding their families. 

"FCC bosses can stop these strikes before they cause havoc for the people of Barrow - just offer these keyworkers the pay rise they deserve." 

While FCC Environment lashed out at what they called 'law-breaking' behaviour from the striking workers after a series of incidents resulting in the police being called.

Claims made by the contractor included that striking workers padlocked the depot on more than one occasion; followed vehicles; shouted at crew; blocked the highways and prevented vehicles entering and leaving depots.

They also alleged the activities of the Union prevented crews from accessing one street altogether and that bins were moved to block a lorry trying to access a narrow road.

Despite this, the workers enjoyed much support from passing vehicles on their striking days, and social media comments were largely supportive of their efforts.