The planned bins collection strike which would hit more than 250,000 Wiltshire homes has been suspended following a new pay offer – but union chiefs warn “let’s not get too carried away”.

The strike of bin workers at Hills Municipal Collections bases at Trowbridge, Calne and Salisbury was due to start on Monday (February 28).

But it has been put on hold after the company has upped its pay offer.

The strike was threatened because workers wanted a seven per cent pay rise and the company had previously offered two per cent. The union has indicated that the new offer is less than a seven per cent rise.

A spokesman for GMB, the union for waste management workers, said: “The proposed strike action scheduled for next week will be suspended to allow members to vote on this new offer. We have agreed to suspend the first week of the planned refuse strike across Wiltshire.”

The initial proposed strike action, which was due to start on Monday, would have been the first day of 14 days of action for GMB members fighting for an above inflation pay rise.  

The ballot on the new offer will be carried out across the three Hills depots between February 28 and March 2.

Nicola Nixon, GMB Regional Organiser said:  “The fact that Hills have placed an increased offer on the table is good, but let’s not get too carried away. It has to meet the expectations of our members and this offer is still somewhat short of their initial valuation of themselves and the pay rates they feel they deserve for their hard work.” 

She added: “While it’s not quite there, I have to acknowledge that Hills have moved forward with this offer.  It’s just a shame they didn’t go that little bit further to perhaps make an acceptance result a foregone conclusion.    

“GMB members will always have final say on any offer that Hills might put on the table and to do that we felt that suspension was the right thing to do whilst we arranged to meet with members across all three sites to carry out a ballot.” 

But the strike may yet go on, says the union.

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “Whilst cautious on how this new proposal might be received, it would be remiss of us not to continue planning should it be rejected.  We will therefore be issuing further strike notice for a further week in order to protect our members position.”

“As always, GMB empowers members to make an informed decision on the offer.  They know what they want and any instruction to reject or accept will be mandated back to us to inform the company.”

A Hills spokesman said: "Hills Municipal Collections welcomes the news that GMB Union have suspended their announced industrial action to ballot members on accepting our pay review offer, averting disruption to its household waste collection service across the county.  The pay review offer provides a fair settlement and is in line with comparable local pay reviews, inflation indexation and the current cost of living."