PUBLIC sector workers went on strike across Thurrock last Thursday - meaning bins were collected for the first time in two weeks this week.

Members of Unite, Unison, the Public and Commercial Services Union, the National Union of Teachers and GMB picketed in heavy rain at Thurrock Civic Offices, Grays and the borough council’s Curzon Drive depot.

Some went to to rallies in Chelmsford and Southend.

The strike meant bins were not emptied on Thursday, making today’s collection the first in two weeks formost residents.

Caroline Penfold, 50, of Danbury Crescent, South Ockendon, said she worried about pests.

She added: “All my bins are full and I’ve got two bags on top of one and another on the floor.

“By the time they come to pick them up, we’re going to have rats, mice and foxes digging into the bags, not to mention maggots, with the hot weather.”

A total of 62 staff walked out, but Michelle Bradley, Unison organiser for Thurrock, said some had chosen not to man the picket lines.

She added: “In today’s world, going out on a picket line isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea and the weather wasn’t kind today, so we said to people, just not coming into work it enough say the pay offer we’ve received is not good enough.”

Twelve schools were closed as a result of the strike, with a further nine only partially open, while Blackshots, Tilbury and Stanford-le-Hope libraries were also closed.

A council spokesman described disruption as minimal, mainly because it had made contingency plans.