REFUSE collectors began strike action yesterday following weeks of wrangling with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

They are unhappy with council plans to introduce a series of shift patterns, which would see them working in the evenings.

A series of one-day strikes and a ban on overtime are already under way and a meeting is due to be held today to decide the next step.

The refuse workers say their plight has won the support of residents throughout Redcar and Cleveland, including the people of Dormanstown, who should have had their bins emptied yesterday.

One resident said: "I am 100 per cent behind them. They have been asked to work odd hours and that is wrong. I don't want people collecting rubbish or sweeping the streets at night."

Another resident said: "I am all in favour of it - whatever is the point of binmen working at night, when there are all sorts of animals who would get to the bins."

Another added: "I thought binmen worked early hours to get the best of the daylight."

Meanwhile, Redcar and Cleveland Council said it had made a number of concessions, including bringing the finishing time for the new arrangements from 9pm to 7.30pm in the summer months and possibly extending the 7.30pm finish to winter months as well.

Councillor David Walsh, leader of the council, said last night: "We believed there was a real chance to sort out this dispute on the basis of our concessions and discussion points. We still do."