Tower Hamlets Council waste service staff to strike

Last updated: 25.09.2023

We understand concerns about the current waste strike action and sincerely apologise to all our residents. We would like to reassure you that we are taking the following measures:

  • Starting today (Saturday 23) private waste company Bywaters will be clearing the build-up of waste. 

  • We are prioritising high rise buildings, markets, commercial areas and main highways. 

  • We are reallocating staff who are not participating in the strike to cover missed collections. 

  • We are clearing parks and disposing of waste. 

  • Tower Hamlets Homes and Poplar HARCA are taking waste from their estates to the disposal site. 

  • We have staff on the street ensuring waste is contained in specific areas and that litter does not escape.


A number of Tower Hamlets Council frontline waste service workers and street cleansers will be going on strike from 18 September to 1 October due to a national pay dispute.  

Despite the council working to maintain services for residents, the strike will impact collections and cleansing across the borough. We apologise in advance for the disruption this will cause.  

We are prohibited from bringing in additional resources during this time, but we will be reallocating staff who are not participating in the strike to cover missed collections. We are doing everything we can to maintain services for residents throughout the strike. 

Lutfur Rahman, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: 

“We value our frontline staff and know how hard they work. This strike is a national pay dispute and not limited to local issues. It is in fact a response to the very real cost-of-living crisis felt by families up and down the country. 

“Naturally we are disappointed by the strike as keeping Tower Hamlets’ streets clean and litter free is our priority. 

“We apologise to our residents and businesses and want to assure them we are doing our best to maintain services throughout.” 

During the strike bulky waste collections will be suspended in order that staff can focus on collections. Residents can take their waste to the Reuse and Recycling Centre in Yabsley Street, which is operating as normal. Staff operating the centre are not involved in the industrial action and are currently experiencing higher than usual volumes of traffic. Please treat them with respect.

Residents can also help play an essential role in helping us maintain a clean and efficient waste collection service: 

1. Reduce Waste Generation: One of the most effective ways to ease the burden on our collection services is by generating less waste in the first place. Consider reducing single-use items, practicing mindful shopping, and opting for products with minimal packaging. 

2. Recycle Responsibly: Recycling is a key component of waste reduction. Please continue to separate your recyclables from your regular waste and place them in the designated bins. Remember to rinse containers and remove any non-recyclable materials. 

3. Spread the Word: Encourage your neighbours and friends to join our efforts – we all need to do our part to keep our area looking clean. The more residents who participate in waste reduction and proper recycling, the more we can collectively contribute to a cleaner and greener community. 

We understand that these are exceptional circumstances, and we greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to resolve the strike issue. By working together and adopting sustainable practices, we can overcome these challenges and continue to build a community that values the environment. 

Posted on Thursday 14th September 2023