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Southampton refuse collectors return to work

Refuse workers at Southampton City Council have returned to work this week while strike action continues in the city.

Despite a notice to strike for council workers during the period between Monday 25 July and Monday 1 August, refuse collection workers voted to return to work, although they are currently operating on ‘work to rule’.

A council spokesman told MRW there was “substantial backlog” in the city and that waste collections are out by “several days” following nine weeks of intermittent strike action.

The strikes follow allegations by public sector union Unite that the city council is “sacking” people and re-employing them on 5% reduced wages.

The council has also employed external contractors to clean up worst hit areas of the city such as housing blocks, a move criticised by Unite regional officer Ian Woodland as a “ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money”.

He said: “Unite members are questioning whether the council actually knows what it is doing.  Likewise local residents are beginning to question the expense of continuing with contractors brought in by the Tory council to break the strike.”

A Southampton City Council spokesman said talks are ongoing, but a notice for further strike action has been called for next week.

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