Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon strike over with bin collections starting tomorrow

A collective sigh of relief was heard across Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon with news that the council strike is over.

This afternoon a joint statement by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the Joint Trade Unions (Unite the Union, GMB & NIPSA) was issued.

It said: “Following positive negotiations between Management and the Joint Trade Unions an agreement in principle has been reached and approved by Elected Members, it is agreed to suspend strike action from 0001hrs on Thursday 22 September, subject to a ballot of members on the agreement.”

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The level of dumping outside the Fairgreen Craigavon Amenity Site in Portadown has been shown via drone footage taken by local man Paul Cranston of Blackbox Aerial Photography.

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A spokesperson for the GMB said: “This deal goes some way to helping the lowest paid council workers face the cost-of-living crisis and a hard winter ahead.

“The long-running Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) bin strike has been suspended while GMB members vote on an improved pay deal today.

The level of dumping outside the Fairgreen Craigavon Amenity Site in Portadown has been shown via drone footage taken by local man Paul Cranston of Blackbox Aerial Photography.

“More than 1,000 local government workers from GMB, Unite and Nipsa have been on strike for 6 weeks, leaving more than half a million bins uncollected. Workers sought a cost-of-living payment, wage harmonisation across the borough and a percentage point pay increase.

“Intense negotiations with ABC bosses have now produced a new offer, which union members will vote on in the coming days.”

Alan Perry, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “GMB members have fought hard for what was right and should be rightly proud of themselves, they now have a deal on the table winning a deal which will help to feed their families.

“They want to thank the public for their support during the industrial action, which has been a struggle for everyone.

“If accepted, this will go some way to helping the lowest paid council workers face the cost-of-living crisis and a hard winter ahead.

“While welcome, this award from the council will not reverse the real terms pay cuts our members have suffered over the last two decades.”

What happens next

* The strike is over as of midnight tonight

* Bins will be lifted tomorrow but only blue and brown bins at this stage

* Bins to be left out on normal collection days

* No additional bin bags will be collected – just bins will be emptied

* Large amenity sites will reopen first, including New Line and Fairgreen – queues expected

* Golf courses will be inspected and a recovery plan put in place.

* Outside companies will be used to clear areas such as outside amenity sites and in lay-bys.

The Council said: “Householders are advised bin collections will resume on Thursday 22nd September, and that general waste has been prioritised for collection. Therefore householders are advised until further notice, Black and Brown bins will only be collected. Green bins (dry recyclables) are currently suspended at this time.

“Four Household Recycling Centres will reopen from 12noon on Thursday 22nd September – Armagh, Banbridge, Fairgreen (Portadown) and Newline (Lurgan). With the remaining centres reopening at 12noon on Friday 23rd September.

“Street cleaning teams will continue to work across the borough to clear litter, servicing public toilets will recommence alongside indoor and outdoor leisure services.

“The council has provided detailed information on its recovery plan, guidance and what services will now be prioritised to resume services as quickly as possible to clear the backlog of waste.

“Residents will continue to be updated with the latest service information on the council website and social media (Facebook/Twitter).”

For details on the councils recovery plan, guidance and service delivery click here: www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/strikeactionsuspension