Welwyn Hatfield’s local MP, Grant Shapps, has responded to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s announcement that bin collection staff will begin industrial action on Monday 19th June.

The council – now jointly run by a coalition of Lib Dem and Labour councillors – announced on Thursday that Urbaser’s refuse collection staff will strike in a dispute with Unite the Union. No timeframe was provided for how long the strike is expected to last.

Blue recycling bins, brown garden waste bins and green food waste caddies will not be collected through the duration of the strike, although the council’s statement says black bin refuse will be “prioritised” during this time.

The strike is set to begin precisely a month after the joint Lib Dem-Labour administration was announced, and comes right after a twenty-year period of Conservative council rule in which there was never a strike of this type or scale.

Mr Shapps commented on the announced strikes:

“There was never a strike like this over the twenty years that the Conservatives ran the council. People up and down Welwyn Hatfield are very worried, especially as it comes so soon after the Lib Dem-Labour coalition was formed.

He continued:

“Residents will be hoping this isn’t the kind of thing they can come to expect with a Lib Dem-Labour coalition of chaos. The longer the council fails to deal with these strikes, the worse it’ll be for everyone in Welwyn Hatfield. The council must work quickly to reach an agreement to ensure the disruption ends quickly.

“In the meantime, I stand ready to do what I can to advise or assist anyone in Welwyn Hatfield as the local MP.”

The council’s advice states that black bin collections will be prioritised and that residents should still put their black bin out on the normal collection day. The full council statement, which includes guidance and advice about the situation, can be found here: https://www.welhat.gov.uk/rubbish-recycling/changes-bin-collections-due-industrial-action