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Bins and leisure service affected as Mid Ulster council staff set to strike over pay

Bin collection services and two leisure centres in Mid Ulster will be affected by next week’s industrial action over pay.

The Northern Ireland-wide strike by members of the Unite union begins on Monday, March 21 and will continue until Sunday, March 27.

Mid Ulster District Council said the action  potentially involves more than 130 of its employees.

It said that while brown bins will not be collected, it aims to continue with black bin collections as far as possible.

Residents are being advised to leave their black bins out for collection on the normal day by 7.30am and black bins will be emptied where there are sufficient crews to deliver a service.

If black bins are not emptied, residents are being asked to take their bins back in from the kerbside and place them out again on their next scheduled collection day during the week beginning April 4.

In cases where a collection service does not take place, residents can leave up to two waste bags beside their black bins on the next collection day.

All recycling centres will remain open during the week, with the three biggest centres Рin Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt Рextending their hours until 7.30pm next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

These centres will also have additional resources on site including bin lifting equipment to allow additional black bin waste to be accepted.

In Cookstown and Greenvale Leisure Centres, swimming pools will be closed on Monday, with the availability of swimming reviewed on a daily basis for the remainder of the week.

There will be no public swimming lessons and no school swimming lessons in either centre for the duration of the industrial action, and fitness classes will also be limited.

“The council anticipates that all other services and facilities, including recycling centres, cemeteries, play facilities, parks, arts and cultural facilities, will operate as normal and will keep the situation under review as the week progresses,” a spokesperson said.

The industrial action relates to a dispute over the 2021-2022 pay award, which is negotiated nationally by the National Joint Council (NJC) on behalf of councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The pay award has been agreed at 1.75 per cent and the council said it had implemented the increase.

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