Birmingham Bin Strikes Suspended As New Offer On The Table

Unite has called off the Birmingham bin strike scheduled after a new deal was tabled.

A ‘heads of settlement agreement’ has been drawn up between Unite and Birmingham city council, the first time that an agreement that meets the union’s expectations has been put on the table, Unite says.

As a consequence, and to “allow Birmingham’s cabinet to discuss the proposed offer” the strike action scheduled for last Friday (8 March) was suspended.

The union claims that the council made payments worth “several thousand pounds” to a group of refuse workers who did not take part in last year’s bin dispute.

The council said that no payments were made to employees who were represented by the GMB union in the refuse service for not going on strike during the industrial action last year.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett – “For the first time there is a deal on the table which meets Unite’s members expectations, it is now imperative that Birmingham council’s cabinet signs up to the deal.”

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 which meets Unite’s members expectations, it is now imperative that Birmingham council’s cabinet signs up to the deal.

“I am sure that Birmingham residents will be keeping their fingers crossed that the cabinet does the right thing and this long running dispute is finally brought to a close.”

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

These will be subject to formal approval at another Cabinet meeting next week (March 15). It is also intended that similar terms will be agreed with Unison in time for the Cabinet meeting next week.

Subject to standard city council processes, an agreement with Unite and Unison, in accordance with the heads of terms, would result in the withdrawal of all litigation and all industrial disputes, including the ceasing of current industrial action in the waste service.

The council will be talking to all trades unions on how this impacts on service delivery and members of staff within the waste service.

Additionally an independent review of the waste service will also be commissioned by the council as part of the joint commitment to providing the best standard of service possible for Birmingham’s citizens, businesses and visitors.

Exact details of the independent review and its scope will be finalised in due course and the terms of reference will be considered at a Cabinet meeting on March 26.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Since the start of this dispute we’ve said that a negotiated settlement was what everyone needed.

“There’s been a determination this week on all sides to bring this dispute to an end and we now have a platform from which to collectively move forward.

“Everyone involved has always had the same aim – to deliver the best possible service for citizens, as clean streets have consistently been named as the number one priority for the people of Birmingham.

“We all know the service needs to be better than it has been. This settlement will enable us to lay the foundations for improvement.

“The independent review will take a long, hard look at the service and come forward with recommendations that help us collectively achieve this.”

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