Birmingham city refuse collectors announce new strike dates

5 January 2011

288 Unite members working in refuse collection for Birmingham city council (BCC) have called two new strike dates on 13 and 14 January commencing at 10.34am in a dispute over pay.

Unite has accused BCC of escalating the dispute by removing the rights of union representatives to take time off to attend meetings and undertake trade union duties. This means no negotiations can take place to resolve the dispute as union negotiators will not be able to attend any meetings. Furthermore, the council is now threatening to change the way refuse collectors are paid.

Refuse workers are in dispute with BCC because it is cutting their pay by as much as £4,000 a year. BCC is now escalating the dispute by threatening to pay the refuse collectors not by their contracted hours but by the amount of waste collected. This would have an enormous impact, reducing wages and introducing financial instability for employees.

Unite regional secretary Gerard Coyne said: “Our members have no choice other than further strike action. Rather than attempting to resolve the dispute this Tory-Lib Dem council seems to be doing everything it possibly can to make things worse.

“The council has decided to prevent union representatives from attending any meetings, meaning there can be no negotiations. The council is threatening to detrimentally change the way staff are paid, and is removing £4,000 from their pay packets. Rather than acting in the best interests of the people of Birmingham this council seems hell-bent on making the dispute even worse.

This council is supposed to be acting in Birmingham’s best interests, instead the Tory-Lib Dem council is doing a great disservice to the people it was elected to serve.”

The action will be discontinuous strike action as follows:

Commencing at 10.34 hours on January 13 2011 concluding at the end of normal shifts and commencing at 10.34 hours on January 14 2011 concluding at the end of normal shifts.

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