Report Warns Birmingham Bin Strike Deal “Unaffordable”

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A council report has warned that the deal that ended the bin strike in Birmingham which resulted in piles of waste across the city is unaffordable.

Following negotiations last week between the city council and Unite, a deal was finally reached which brought to an end the strike, which had been going on since June 30th.

The council report that says giving ground to the workers’ demands is not financially viable rendering the breakthrough unworkable.

Birmingham City Council has spent £300,000 a week responding to the backlog of rubbish in the city.

Unite say that 120 refuse collectors’ job are threatened by a reconstructing plan, starting the dispute, but the council said that the plan would modernise the service and save £5 million a year.

On 16th August, however, the council agreed certain posts would not be made redundant and the strike was suspended, with conciliatory service Acas stating bin collections could resume.

The authority accepted the case of the workers, in a statement, restoring the jobs of grade three workers, who are responsible for safety at the back of refuse vehicles.

A report due to be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Thursday, however, said that the restructuring was necessary to enable spending to stay within budget.

The report said the current operation “will not meet the business need of the future”, and that crew structure had not delivered value-for-money savings targets.

Whilst the report did not specifically mention that the deal struck last week should not have been made, it certainly recommends that the council should not move on their original plan, which led to the dispute in the first place.

Should the position of the authority on the pay grade issue be budged, the report raises concerns about not only the £5 million saving they want to make, but also the possibility of an influx of equal pay claims that the council would not able to afford, according to the report.

The report says a decision to not proceed with the deletion of grade three roles would result in an increase in costs of £600,000 in a full year alone.

“However, the more significant potential financial implications arising from a decision not to continue with the implementation of the new operating model arise from a significant increase in the risks in relation to further equal pay claims,” it added.

The meeting to discuss the report was deferred until September 1st.

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