A temporary halt has been called to planned industrial action by refuse workers across Somerset.

Workers had been threatening to commence strike action on Wednesday, July 11, as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.

But eleventh hour negotiations have secured a temporary reprieve, and the Unite trade union has suspended its industrial action for two weeks.

Bin collections will continue largely as normal on Wednesday, pending the outcome of a vote by Unite members.

However the council did warn that services may still be compromised because of the strike being called off at such a late hour.

In a statement a spokesperson for Somerset Council said: "Talks today between the Unite union and SUEZ recycling and recovery UK - the Council’s collections contractor - made progress and the union has agreed to ballot its membership on an improved pay offer.

"There is some way to go and a risk of industrial action remains, but the immediate widespread disruption to collections has been avoided. 

"The online garden waste form has been reinstated to take new subscriptions, renewals and requests for replacement garden waste bins.  We are also taking requests for container deliveries.

"In the coming days we will be working through reinstating bulk waste collections."

The prospect of strikes arose after a dispute between Unite and the council's collections contractor, Suez.

Unite said that without a better pay deal, their strikes would result in a 'stinking summer for Somerset.'

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members play a crucial frontline role keeping Somerset clean and tidy. They are simply not prepared to accept low pay any longer. The Suez offer in reality is a real terms pay cut. Suez is a wealthy company that can fully afford to make a fair pay offer but it has chosen not to do so.