A bin strike in October is looking more likely after workers said they were prepared to take industrial action.

The GMB union is calling on Waltham Forest Council contractor Urbaser to put forward a “realistic pay offer”, as well as a company sick pay offer, after workers were offered a seven per cent pay rise for this year, followed by three per cent next year.

A ballot of workers showed they were in favour of strike action in principle, but a formal ballot must take place before industrial action.

It has not provided any provisional dates for strike action but has advised any strikes would likely take place in October if meetings at Waltham Forest depots, starting Thursday September 15, result in formal strike action. 

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According to GMB, refuse workers in Waltham Forest receive statutory sick pay of just £99 per week if they are hurt or ill as a result of working with bins.

GMB London Organiser Michael Dooley said: “GMB members are angry and feel let down by the company. 

"We do not know what Urbaser is thinking in offering three per cent as a pay increase next year and denying a company sick pay scheme.

“It feels like they are provoking conflict.

“Members of both GMB and Unite are not in any position to accept a pay deal that is so one-sided towards an employer.

“GMB and Unite members will now meet at depots in Waltham Forest to discuss the next steps. 

“After this ballot result, the next step could mean a formal strike ballot of Waltham Forest refuse workers.”

GMB stressed that the dispute is with Urbaser, and not Waltham Forest Council.

Deputy council leader Cllr Clyde Loakes said: “Waltham Forest Council and its contractors, including Urbaser, are London Living wage employers.

“We recognise that many people are concerned about the rising cost of living.

“We are working hard to ensure that anyone employed by the council or its contractors receives a fair wage, and at the same time safeguard tax-payers’ money to fund essential services that the community increasingly relies upon.

“Talks are ongoing between Urbaser and the union representatives.

"The council has not received any additional Government funding to cope with the cost-of-living crisis that our staff and our contractors are facing."

The council also emphasised that no formal ballot for strike action has taken place yet.

Urbaser has been approached for comment.