Waste Disposal Industrial Action

GMB and Unite trade union members in the Council's waste and recycling collection services are taking full scale industrial action.

Aside of the full industrial action, union members have been working short of strike since November.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by disruption to waste collections.


Strike action and collection dates in April

  • From Tuesday 9 April (Bins are being collected)
    Put all bins out every day and leave them out until one has been collected.

Residents in Whitburn who have an additional bin as part of a pilot scheme are advised to put out all three bins, on the weeks that bins are being collected. 

Green Waste

If you subscribe for green waste collections, please put your bin out from Tuesday 9 April until it is collected. 


Changes at the Recycling Village

We have made changes at the Recycling Village to help minimise the impact of the bin strikes.

We have:

  • Opened more than 2000 new slots per week
  • Doubled the number of visits per month from 4 to 8 for households with cars

Please make sure you cancel your slot if you no longer need it.

Queues may be longer than normal when attending an appointment due to the strike.

Book a slot at the Recycling Village


Reduce waste where possible

Please reduce waste as much as possible and recycle responsibly.

We urge residents to take excess waste to the Recycling Village and / or store non-perishable and recyclable material until your next collection.


Frequently asked questions

Who is striking?

GMB and Unite trade union members in the Council's waste and recycling collection services are taking full scale industrial action.

Aside of the full industrial action, union members have been working short of strike since November.

Why have union members taken the decision to strike?

Please see the following statements:

Further Strike Action in South Tyneside Despite Positive Dialogue - South Tyneside Council

A joint statement on behalf of South Tyneside Council, GMB and Unite Unions - 19/02/24 - South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council Response to GMB Communication - 23/01/24 - South Tyneside Council

Statement in Response to GMB over Industrial Action - South Tyneside Council

I am a resident. Will my bin be collected during the strike action?

  • From Tuesday 9 April (Bins are being collected)
    Put all bins out every day and leave them out until one has been collected.

Residents are advised to reduce their waste as much as possible and recycle responsibly. We would urge residents to take excess waste to the Recycling Village and / or store non-perishable and recyclable material until their next collection.

Residents in Whitburn who have an additional bin as part of a pilot scheme are advised to put out all three bins, on the weeks that bins are being collected. 

Green Waste

If you subscribe for green waste collections, please put your bin out from Tuesday 9 April until it is collected. 

My bin has not been collected?

Aside of the full industrial action, operatives have been working short of strike since November. This is impacting on the delivery of services.

Why don't your business continuity plans account for industrial action?

It would be impossible to plan and cost huge amounts of council taxpayers' money to have large numbers of staff on standby in the event of a strike.

What is the Council doing to minimise the impact of the strike on residents and businesses?

Contingency planning has continued to develop as the Council deals with repeated periods of disruption. 

On non-strike weeks, waste crew operatives continue to take action that goes beyond 'short of strike'.

This, coupled with periods of full strike action, is impacting on the overall delivery of services.

Residents are being asked to manage their waste as best they can, to reduce their waste and recycle responsibly.

Book a slot at the Recycling Village (businesses are reminded that they are not able to dispose of their waste at the Recycling Village).

Will I get a refund on my Council Tax because my bin has not been collected?

We understand any disruption to bin collections is frustrating.

The Council has a duty to set a balanced budget prior to the financial year. Part of this budget setting process includes setting the Council Tax to cover social care, education, libraries, road maintenance, streetlighting, cleansing, planning and waste collection.

Council Tax is a tax not a service charge. Households legally have to pay their Council Tax even if services are disrupted or if people don't use a certain service.

Can I check my bin calendar online?

The online bin calendar is temporarily disabled due to disruptions caused by ongoing strike action.

As a result of the latest planned actions, the Council is making some changes to scheduled collections in a bid to empty bins impacted by repeated rounds of strike action.

I am a trade waste subscriber. What will happen to Trade Waste Collections?

We ask businesses to bear with us and we will collect commercial waste where we can.

Will excess waste be collected in the week following industrial action?

Please store any excess waste and place it in the bin once it has been emptied when services resume.

Residents also have the option to take any excess waste to the Recycling Village.

Are you expecting more fly-tipping incidents?

We have taken this into consideration and will be extra vigilant over this period. We would ask residents to support us and report any incidents of illegal waste disposal incidents so that action can be taken. Please report report any incidents of fly-tipping.

How can I reduce the likelihood of waste attracting vermin throughout the period of industrial action?

South Tyneside Council asks that you reduce waste as much as possible and recycle responsibly.

Flatten or squash as much household waste or recycling as possible, to maximise space in your bin. It may be possible to pool bin space with your neighbour's agreement, for those who routinely create less waste.

We urge residents to take excess waste to the Recycling Village and / or store non-perishable and recyclable material until your next collection.

Please responsibly store all general waste in tied bags within your grey household bin - never put loose food waste straight into the bin, wrapping it will make sure it doesn't stick to the sides of the bin and will help contain any odours. Keeping the lid of the bin closed and storing bins away from fences or walls can help prevent animal access and spillage and reduce risk of vermin.

The Environmental Health Service will investigate complaints about issues harmful to public health on a priority case by case basis.

Why can't the Council bring in agency workers to deliver the services while waste operatives?

The Council is bound by the legislation that protects industrial action. It is fully aware of the legal position and limitations in respect of work undertaken during a period of industrial action.

In July 2022, the law was changed and it became possible for employers to engage agencies to supply workers to do work which was not being done due to industrial action. This change in the law was challenged by a number of Trade Unions in the High Court and they were successful in having it quashed.

As a result, from 10 August 2023, organisations were once again prohibited from engaging agency workers in this way.

The Council continues to explore all legal options available to minimise the impact of the current industrial action on residents. Residents are assured that any mitigation measures put in place fully comply with the law.

Why can't I get through to Customer Services with my query on bin collections?

The Council's Customer Contact Centre is experiencing high volumes of calls relating to bin collections and the industrial action.

To support staff to deal with other calls, residents with waste-related queries are encouraged to visit the Council's website in the first instance.

Callers are reminded that abuse of staff will not be tolerated.

How should I tidy up any general waste spillage?

If there are any spillages from split general waste bags, please carefully re-bag the waste and return it to your grey bin, take it to the recycling village or store it safely. Do not put loose food or general waste directly in your grey bin - please make sure it is re-bagged.

To reduce the risk of illness from poor hygiene, wear heavy duty protective gloves and use a brush and shovel, and / or a litter picker if possible. Keep your hands away from your mouth and eyes. Wash your hands and forearms thoroughly with soap and warm water as soon as possible.

If needles or syringes are spotted at any stage, do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and contact the Council on 0191 427 7000.

Should I leave my bin out?

During periods of industrial action, residents are asked not to present bins for collection. There will be no bin collections.

On weeks where bins are being collected, we please ask residents be mindful of leaving bins on footpaths. This can cause an obstruction for those who are partially sighted, disabled as well as those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.