Bin dispute over as the council and unions come to an agreement

Birmingham City Council Wheelie Bin
Image: Kyle Moore / Birmingham Updates

Birmingham’s bin dispute is finally over after the council’s cabinet approved a legal agreement with the unions Unite and Unison.

Industrial action was initiated by the union Unite after it accused the council of ‘secret payments’ and the ‘blacklisting’ of workers.

As part of the agreement all Unite members who were balloted for industrial action back in 2017 will receive £3,500 each.

The legal agreement includes:

  • Workers who claimed they were blacklisted by having holiday requests refused during the recent dispute will receive £500 each.
  • Unite’s High Court Case concerning the council’s breach of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) which ended the 2017 dispute, will be terminated.
  • The council will cease utilising mop-up crews without a qualified waste reduction collections officer on board.
  • The council is committed to holding a recruitment day so that agency staff can apply for permanent positions.
  • All other outstanding legal issues have been resolved.

Additionally, an independent review on the future options for delivery of the waste service will also be commissioned by the council. Exact details of the 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.”

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “Unite is pleased that it has been able to reach agreement with the council to finally bring an end to this lengthy dispute.

“By standing together our members have secured an excellent settlement and ended the injustice that they had been subject to. Their success demonstrates what can be achieved when workers are united.

“Unite has been consistent from the beginning of the dispute that our members were simply seeking parity, with the payments that workers who did not take part in the 2017 dispute, subsequently received. Once that principle was understood the dispute could be resolved.

“Unite is firmly committed to developing strong industrial relations with Birmingham council in the future and hopes that the recent industrial disputes can be put behind us.”

The full Cabinet report from today’s (15/03) meeting can be viewed on the city council’s website at