Strike action has been called off in Tower Hamlets after refuse workers and street cleaners secured an extra £750 as part of their pay deal with the council.

More than 200 workers began strike action on Monday, September 18 after rejecting a national pay offer of a £1,925 rise because they said it was a “real terms pay cut”.

But last week, Unite the union confirmed that a deal has now been met which involved securing an extra £750 for all workers and said around 50 agency workers will be brought in-house by the end of the year.

Strike action was due to take place for a total of four weeks until Sunday, October 15 but was called off after a pay deal was negotiated between Tower Hamlets Council and their workers.

Nick West, a regional officer at Unite said: “The proposed strike action inevitably caused major disruption to bin collections and street cleaning services.

“This was entirely avoidable if managers had taken the situation seriously from the outset.”

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He added: “Our members were determined to secure a fair pay deal so the intervention of the mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman played a part in helping to resolve this dispute.”

The impact of the strike saw rotting rubbish spill out onto the streets of London’s East End with residents and business owners complaining about the smell and fearing it would attract vermin and would become a public health issue. 

One local business owner in Roman Road told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that he was losing customers because they couldn’t browse products advertised in his windows.

Khandaker Ahmed of computer sales and repair shop, Sam & App, said: “I’m losing customers because people cannot see my stuff, it’s blocking my products.”

Stepney Green resident, Richard Reindorp had taken matters into his own hands and had cleared some of the rubbish near his home by putting it into black bin bags.

He said: “From time to time I’ve been putting some things in [bin bags] and I think one or two people are bringing their own bags but I’ve just sort of cleared it a bit, I’ve bought a couple of black plastic bags.”

Mr Reindorp went on to say: “The gulls hang around here, the foxes come across and there are of course rats in the station.”

Videos of the situation in the borough also appeared on social networking site TikTok.

Mr Rahman said: “I want to thank all parties for coming to this agreement and, in particular, I want to thank our residents for their patience and apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.

“We found ourselves in a difficult position because the strike was over a national pay dispute. However, with no resolution in sight, we had to act to see if we could negotiate a local solution.”

He went on to say: “We value our refuse staff and we have listened to their concerns to see how we can work constructively and collaboratively to resolve this dispute.

“Together, we will clear backlogged refuse and clean our streets as quickly as possible.”

The LDRS understands that Tower Hamlets Council has employed additional private waste contractors for the next few weeks to help catch up on missed waste collections and clean streets.