Birmingham council ‘drinking in last chance saloon’ as Unite reschedules next bin strike
- Tuesday 26 February 2019
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has rescheduled tomorrow’s (Wednesday 26 February) intended Birmingham bin strike as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ in a bid to break the deadlock.
Three days of peace talks
Three days of peace talks, hosted by the conciliation service Acas, between Unite and Birmingham council have failed to reach a deal to end the industrial action over ‘secret payments’ and the ‘blacklisting’ of bin workers.
The final day of the talks (Tuesday 26 February) failed to adequately progress. The talks were attended by the council officers only with the leader of the council and the councillor for waste being absent. Those same council officials then left the talks at lunch to attend Birmingham council’s budget meeting.
Despite this disappointing response, Unite’s Birmingham bin workers’ representatives, have met and decided as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ to reschedule tomorrow’s strike, to give the council a final chance to come forward with an acceptable offer to end the dispute.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said “Unite representatives cannot be on a picket line and attend Acas. They have decided to reschedule tomorrow’s strike as a gesture of goodwill to the people of Birmingham and to show their clear intent to use all efforts to reach a resolution.
“Birmingham council needs to grasp this gesture and fully understand that it is drinking in the last chance saloon. If a deal cannot be agreed tomorrow then further strikes action will resume on Thursday.
“It has been hugely disappointing that Birmingham council has failed to appreciate the urgency of securing a deal and their actions today saw them effectively run the clock down rather than reach a deal to end the dispute.
“Birmingham residents are crying out for the council to show leadership to end this dispute. Tomorrow is the final opportunity before further strikes take place.
“If talks are to be successful then the council needs to make offers that ensure parity with the secret payments that they have already paid to workers who did not take part in the 2017 strikes.”
Last week saw two separate 24 hour bin strikes, which resulted in large-scale disruption to the refuse collection service.
If a deal to end the strikes is not agreed tomorrow (Wednesday 27 February) then the strikes scheduled for Thursday (28 February) and next month will go ahead.
Notes to editors:
The remaining strike dates that Unite has announced as part of the strike action over ‘secret payments and blacklisting’ are: Monday 4 March, Friday 8 March, Tuesday 12 March, Wednesday 13 March, Thursday 21 March, Friday 22 March.
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.