‘Agreement reached’ in Birmingham bin dispute

11 Mar 19

Unite and Birmingham City Council look to have reached agreement over a long-running dispute that has seen bin collections disrupted by strikes and an overtime ban.

A further day of strikes, scheduled for last Friday, was cancelled after the new deal was tabled.

A ‘heads of settlement agreement’ has been drawn up between the two bodies, which Unite said is the first agreement that “meets the union’s expectations”.

The terms of the new offer are yet to be made public. 

More than 300 Unite refuse workers employed by the council had been striking over complaints relating to union action in 2017. 

The union had sought a high court injunction against the council after accusing it of breaking an agreement cemented in law, which ended the refuse worker strikes nearly a year and a half ago.

The dispute related to pay the Unite members said was given to GMB members who did not go on strike in 2017. They claimed those who did strike in 2017 had been ‘blacklisted’ and denied holiday requests. The council had offered what it called “a reasonable, well evaluated figure” to Unite members, worth £2,000 to £3,000 each, but the union had rejected it.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “The heads of settlement is a real breakthrough in negotiations. For the first time there is a deal on the table that meets Unite members’ expectations. It is now imperative that Birmingham council’s cabinet signs up to the deal.”

Since the dispute started there have been three days of strike action. An overtime ban and a work to rule have also been in place since the end of December 2018.

The 2017 strikes lead to the resignation of the council leader in September 2017.

The original industrial action was over a reorganisation of the service, which would have seen the ‘deleting’ of 113 supervisory posts to save money.

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