Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has avoided strike action after it agreed to revert back to former staff contracts.

Last week, refuse vehicle drivers reached a 97% majority in favour of strike action following an 18-month battle over employment terms and salaries.

Union GMB told MT that the proposed contracts essentially forced its members to work bank holidays for no extra pay.

Earlier this week, GMB official Paul Grafton said: "The council wilfully breached an ACAS Binding Arbitration agreement. GMB have been in talks for more than a year on services and pay and agreed to a rather unpalatable two-year pay freeze suggested by ACAS for its members."

The union agreed a deal with the council yesterday (28 June), which its members voted to accept this morning.

Grafton said: "GMB representatives met with the council on Wednesday and thrashed out a deal after six hours. GMB members were balloted this morning on the offer and are happy to have the correct terms and conditions back in place.

"GMB is happy to see that Reigate and Banstead finally saw some sense and averted the completely unnecessary threat of strike action brought on by themselves."