Serco has dropped its plan to reduce refuse rounds and increase the number of bins its staff were expected to empty in Sandwell, meaning strike action is now off the cards.

In January, the outsourcer agreed to suspend the changes and carry out a review of its domestic waste contract, after trade unions threatened it with industrial action.

The Unite union said the changes would have resulted in the Serco workforce in the West Midlands having to cope with unmanageable loads.

In addition, the GMB said the proposals had raised “serious concerns about health and safety” and that when it had advised members to make sure they follow the company’s safe working practices, “Serco hauled workers into management meetings about their performance levels”.

However, Unite said Serco had now agreed to shelve its plan.

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As part of the agreement, it had also made 60 workers, who were on fixed-term contracts, permanent employees.

Sharon Harding, Unite regional officer, said: “This announcement is good news for Sandwell residents and the Serco workforce.

“It will mean that refuse will continue to be collected in Sandwell without disruption.”

“The deal demonstrates what can be achieved through negotiations.

“Now that this issue has been resolved Unite looks forward to developing constructive industrial relations with Serco moving forward.”

Annette Joyce, Serco’s regional director for environmental services said: “We reverted back to the former rounds allocation in January to ensure appropriate services were maintained for local residents, which is our main priority.

"Following a review, we have decided to leave the collection rounds as they are and work with the unions to determine if any other changes are required. We thank residents for their patience during any disruption and thank our employees and the unions for working with us and for their positive contribution in seeking improvements where they are deliverable.”