Howard Beckett Urges Council to Back Down Over Waste Collection Industrial Action

Brummie Bin Strike Could Last to Christmas, Says Unite

The long-running industrial action by waste and recycling workers in Birmingham, UK could continue until Christmas, unless the city council negotiates a fair settlement the country’s largest union, Unite, has warned.

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The long-running industrial action by waste and recycling workers in Birmingham, UK could continue until Christmas, unless the city council negotiates a fair settlement the country’s largest union, Unite, has warned.

The union is balloting its refuse collection members to renew its industrial action mandate which could result in more strikes after the present daily strike action ends on 21 September. 

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “We continue to hold talks with the council, but progress has been slow and we would call on the council to now step up and conclude this urgently. 

“In the absence of a settlement, we will be balloting our members from 17 August on whether they wish to take strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike after the current industrial action comes to an end in September. The ballot closes on 31 August.”

“The current round of industrial action is due to end on 21 September and a renewed industrial action mandate could see this dispute continuing up to Christmas. This is the last thing that the Birmingham public and our members want, so we again today call on the city council to move up a gear and negotiate constructively.”

According to Beckett the dispute began with Birmingham council having a list of demands. During the dispute one of the union’s shop stewards was suspended and disciplinary action has been accelerated against him. 

“In contrast the union has said protect the salaries of our members in the grade 3 role and drop the disciplinary against our shop steward,” he said. “We can work to a settlement regarding all of the council’s further demands. The council must now step up and conclude a settlement.”  

Unite added that the local authority regarded the dispute as about working patterns, while its own view is said that it was about safety on the refuse vehicles and threats to the jobs and incomes of already lowly paid workers who could lose up to £5000 per year. 

“To the members of the public suffering we offer our sincere sympathies, we ask them to place themselves in the shoes of our members and ask them to call upon the council to resolve this dispute,” concluded Beckett.

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