Bin strike reprieve as court rules city must withdraw redundancy notices
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Bin collections have resumed in Birmingham after the union representing the city’s refuse workers agreed to suspend industrial action.
The move by Unite follows a ruling in the High Court ordering the city council to withdraw redundancy notices served on its members.
The bitter dispute has been running since June with both sides refusing to back down and while collections have resumed, the move could only be a temporary one until both parties resume their battle in a High Court trial set to begin in November.
In a statement after the ruling, Birmingham City Council said: “We obviously accept today’s ruling which will mean further consideration by the courts. The council wants to offer the best possible refuse service for citizens and wants to work with Unite and all the other unions to do this. We remain committed to resolving the dispute as quickly as possible and we hope Unite will support us in doing this.”
Following the ruling, Unite also agreed to suspend calling further industrial action. Earlier this week refuse workers had voted overwhelmingly to extend their strike action by a further 12 weeks.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This judgment will be a huge relief to Birmingham’s bin workers, who in just a matter of weeks were facing losing their job or pay cuts of up to £5,000 a year.
“The High Court ruling leaves Birmingham council’s unfair and unjust plans in tatters. The council needs to reflect on how it got here and the misery it has inflicted on the people of Birmingham and its own bin workers.
“At no stage did the council raise in court the issue of equal pay and potential costs. This scaremongering has been outed by the court proceedings as a work of pure fiction.”
The union has also renewed its call for the city council’s interim chief executive Stella Manzie to step down, citing her as the main architect of the dispute even though former council leader John Clancy fell on his sword last week after criticism over his handling of the dispute.
Mr Bennett said: “She has repeatedly used the threat of equal pay cases to frighten and bully the council into agreeing the downgrade of long serving bin workers when it has no substance whatsoever and was not so much as mentioned by her legal team.
“This ruling underlines that Unite will not shrink away from using all the tools at its disposal to defend its members and the services they deliver.”