This week 30 years ago: Hackney’s bin collection service thrown into chaos after new union deal

Hackney Gazette August 26, 1988.

Hackney Gazette August 26, 1988. - Credit: Archant

Hackney’s rubbish collection service was thrown into chaos with a new union deal that halved the number of dustcarts.

Rubbish was piling up in stinking bins on streets and in refuse chutes and some of the roads hadn’t been cleaned for a month.

Council chiefs said a new deal that was set to be signed would see the mess cleared within a week – but union bosses said it could get worse.

The chaos began when workers used to working three-hour shifts were asked to double their hours in a bid to see off competition from private firms. Fewer dustcarts with larger crews working unfamiliar beats meant they couldn’t finish their rounds and 25 experienced staff members retired rather than work the new hours.

Two fed up people dumpbed their rubbish on the town hall steps and a plague of flies was covering Lower Clapton’s Pembury Estate.

One council worker told a Dalston firm to hire a skip for its uncollected waste, and bill the town hall.