Industrial action by GMB union members is taking place this week before they are joined by Unite for a week-long strike beginning 23 January.

Action short of strike, comprising working to rule and ‘go slows’, has been ongoing since November.

When the action began, the GMB said: ‘In total, 100% majority of GMB members working at South Tyneside Refuse voted to strike in anger after years of inaction from the council to tackle a well-known toxic work atmosphere.’

GMB regional organiser Mark Wilson said: ‘The council needs to end this toxic bullying culture and engage with workers concerns.’

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: ‘The lines of communication remain open in the spirit of constructive and positive industrial relations.

‘We are disappointed that these latest rounds of strike action have come in response to communication with the crew, which not only reminded them of their important roles on the front line but reinforced our commitment to resolve matters and move forward.’

The local authority commissioned an independent investigation into the issues and has had the full report since late November, according to the GMB.

The union said it is yet to see a copy but hopes to see the full report tomorrow.

This article first appeared on

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