The long-running Birmingham bin strike, which started in June and is costing taxpayers around £40,000 a day, has resumed today (01/09) after Birmingham City Council announced it was issuing redundancy notices to workers.
The council has released the following statement: “In order to protect its legal and financial position, the council is issuing redundancy notices to the Grade 3 Leading Hands in the refuse service – as approved by Cabinet on 27 June. The notices will be received on Friday 1 September. The council wishes to continue its ongoing discussions with trades unions through ACAS in parallel with seeking alternative jobs for the Grade 3s affected by redundancy.”
Timeline of the long-running Birmingham bin strike:
Friday 30th June: Strike action begins.
Wednesday 16th August: Strike action is suspended amid negotiations between Unite Union and Birmingham City Council.
Thursday 24th August: Birmingham City Council cabinet warns the deal that ended the strike is unaffordable.
Thursday 31st August: The council announces it is issuing redundancy notices. Unite Union says the move is a “deeply provocative act” and warns workers are likely to resume strike action.
Friday 1st September: Workers return to picket lines. Unite Union warns action could continue until the end of the year and says members will be balloted for further action.
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The new waste collection system we are introducing will provide a better, more efficient service for citizens and will enable the service to be run within budget.
“We will be creating more than 200 new refuse collection jobs for loaders. These will be full-time, offering a range of benefits, including pension entitlement and sick pay and will replace expensive agency contracts which do not include these benefits.”
Unite Union assistant general secretary Howard Beckett, said: “This is a deeply provocative act that drives a coach and horses through the agreement Unite reached with the council in good faith at the conciliation service Acas.
“It does a great disservice to the people of Birmingham and the city’s refuse workers who now face being made redundant and losing their livelihoods or pay cuts of thousands of pounds.
“The last thing refuse workers want to do is resume industrial action and see piles of rubbish accumulating on Birmingham’s streets. This is their city too. Our members want to focus on delivering a safe efficient service to people of Birmingham.
“Sadly it seems the council does not want to see that happen. Instead of embracing an agreement that would have seen compromise on all sides, the council seems content to put people on the dole and cut their wages by up to £5,000.
“Unite calls on the council to come to its senses and withdraw these redundancy notices to avoid the disruption of industrial action.”