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Council hopes for quick resolution to collections dispute

Newcastle City Council has said it is working to end a dispute with refuse workers “as quickly as possible”.

The dispute involves staff being asked to move to diffferent working practices, and has reportedly led to some workers taking unofficial action.

Now the council is trying to clear a backlog, which was created by a large number of missed collections in the past two weeks. On Thursday, residual and recycling bin collections were missed across 12 wards in the city. Garden waste collections have also been missed in the past week.

The council has asked residents whose bins were not emptied to leave them out over the weekend.

A council spokesperson said: “We are experiencing some teething problems as a result of operational changes we have made to bin collections.

“Despite this, we are confident that these changes will lead to a more efficient service with the professionalism and commitment of our staff. They do an important job and are working hard to catch up with the backlog.

“Everything that can be done is being done to get the service back to normal as quickly as possible.”

While no official strike action has been announced, the Evening Chronicle reported that workers were unhappy about staff being laid off as part of the council’s 2016 budget.

In a statement last week the council said there had been no compulsory redundancies in refuse collection.

“When the council consulted on new ways of working, we had the co-operation and agreement of the trade unions, and we continue to work constructively with them.

“Through this process the council has remained committed to the protection of front line services and protecting front line jobs. The scale of the budget challenges facing the authority mean that changes and greater flexibility are essential.”

MRW has contacted Unison for further details.

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