Birmingham Bin Strike Back On

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Birmingham’s bin workers have returned to the picket lines with the strike back on following the falling through of a deal between Union and the council.

The seven-week strike was suspended on 16th August after an initial agreement was made between the two parties.

A meeting was due to take place on Friday 1st September but the council went back on agreement, according to Unite, saying the meeting would no longer be taking place.

Unite has now warned that the action could continue until the end of the year.

The council’s action had “made it a certainty that the people of Birmingham will suffer this chaos and disruption and rubbish on their streets for the rest of 2017”, according to Unite’s Howard Beckett.

Council leader John Clancy, however, claims that no deal had been fully agreed with the group.

The dispute, which initially saw strike action start on 30th June, revolved around restructuring plans which Birmingham City Council say will modernise the service and save £5 million a year. Unite, however, argue that the plans will threaten the jobs of more than 120 refuse collectors.

A council report published last week warned of the financial cost of a deal struck with Unite, branding it “unaffordable”.

On Thursday, in a decision which Mr. Beckett described as “outrageous industrial sabotage”, the council said it was issuing redundancy notices to certain grade three workers “in order to protect its legal and financial position”.

Strike action was prompted, as a result, to resume from Friday morning. Three-hour stoppages spaced across shifts are planned, taking place daily at 07.00, 10.30 and 13.00 BST.

Mr Beckett said, “I reached a deal with John Clancy and Acas on 15 August. That deal was publicised by Acas on the 16 August after my members authorised it and suspended industrial action.

“I was told by John Clancy, and have a text communication from him, that the cabinet approved the deal on the 21 August, yet I have a statement yesterday, and I haven’t heard from John Clancy, that there’s this sudden reversal.”

Council leader John Clancy disagreed, saying, “Deal or no deal – there was no deal. My cabinet and I came together with a negotiating position to try to see what we could do to go that extra mile to get a negotiated solution.

“If there had been a deal to end the dispute, the strike would have ended, it wasn’t, it was suspended.

“So, there was no deal, there was an agreement in principle to talk at Acas and my cabinet and I agreed some heads of terms that would enable us to get into Acas to talk, there has been no deal concluded with Unite.

“Unite have said there was a deal for their own purposes. There was never a deal,” he added.

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