Harlow refuse workers have voted to strike over a pay offer that “fails to keep track with he cost of living”.

Union UNISON Eastern has told Harlow Council contractor Veolia that refuse workers have agreed to strike action after a vote last Wednesday (June 22).

Workers voted 97 per cent in favour of strikes in the hope of securing a better offer.

UNISON points to the lack of any pay rise last year, set to be made up for by a 7 per cent rise for the two years. The union highlights this is still below the 9 per cent inflation rate and therefore a real-terms cut.

The union claims that the company had been refusing to even talk about pay at the Mead Park depot, but it has now agreed to meet.

Veolia is being urged to come to the negotiating table with a new offer and avoid disruption to the public before it announces strike dates.

Epping Forest Guardian: VeoliaVeolia

UNISON Eastern regional manager Caroline Hennessy said: “Harlow’s refuse workers have made their feelings known. They won’t accept another year of tightening their belts and struggling to make ends meet

“No-one at the depot wants to strike and stop providing their vital service to the public. But they’ve just got no other options.

“Veolia has refused to even talk to staff about a meaningful pay rise. The ball is entirely in the company’s court. If Veolia bosses want to avoid missed collections and rubbish piling up in the summer hear, they can make an offer that doesn’t leave bin workers worse off.”

A spokesperson for Harlow Council previously said “Harlow Council is monitoring this situation very carefully and urges both parties to sit down to resolve any concerns.

“It is hoped that strike action can be avoided. We know that the local bin crews do an amazing job, and they deserve the opportunity to share their concerns about the pay offer.

“We hope that a way forward is found and will be working with Veolia to do all that we can to ensure that residents receive the service they are entitled to expect.”