Tower Hamlets waste collection strike: dates, affected areas and everything you need to know

Passed by Brick Lane at any point over the last couple of days and you’ll no doubt have noticed that something isn’t quite right. The place is littered with mini mountains of rubbish and stinks with pungent wafts of rotting garbage. It’s getting so bad that some have even dubbed one of the biggest piles of trash a ‘Mount Everest of rubbish’.

And it isn’t just on Brick Lane that refuse is piling up. All over the borough of Tower Hamlets – which spans much of the traditional East End – rubbish is building up on streets and outside houses and businesses.

The reason for the build-up of waste is a strike by collectors of bins and waste. The strike started on September 18 and is currently in full-swing – here’s everything you need to know.

Why are bin collectors striking?

Waste service workers and street cleaners in Tower Hamlets are walking out over low pay. The workers are members of the Unite union and they rejected a below-inflation pay increase by the local government earlier this month.

When are Tower Hamlets workers striking in London?

The strike is set to last from September 18 to October 2. However, it could be called off early if Tower Hamlets Council and Unite agree on a better pay deal for the waste collection workers.

What are local residents saying about the strikes?

Beigel Shop manager Ellis Zelum told the Evening Standard that the business is spending an extra £400 per week to get rid of its waste.

‘We had to dump a load yesterday because our yard was full of it and we don’t want to attract mice or rats,’ he said.

Local businessman Chris Dyson told the BBC that scenes across the borough were ‘absolutely shocking’, saying: ‘This is going to take a lot of time to clear up properly [and] to disinfect and not just scrape clean to make it safe.’

Dyson called on mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman to pay the workers a ‘decent wage’.

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