Birmingham bin strikes could last the year

Birmingham bin strikes could last the year

01 September 2017

Unite announces new ballot in light of council's 'shoddy' behaviour

'Shoddy' behaviour by Birmingham council has led to a fresh ballot of the city's refuse workers, Unite the union has announced today (Friday 1 September).

The union was shocked by the council's last minute cancellation of a promised meeting of the council cabinet last night called to discuss a joint union and council proposal aimed at resolving the dispute, rapidly followed by the issuing of redundancy notices to 100 workers, which both parties had agreed would not happen, and now efforts to undermine the recent agreement reached via the conciliation service, Acas. 

Refuse workers who are members of Unite resumed industrial action today in protest at the council's alarming actions and failure to uphold the negotiated settlement.

Today's announcement of a re-ballot could mean industrial action and dirty streets extending until 2018.

Announcing the fresh ballot, Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “The council has given us no choice but to seek another mandate for action from our members.

"The past 24 hours have been extraordinary and totally at odds with the agreement Unite reached with the council in good faith through the conciliation service Acas.

"Frankly, the council leadership and officers' treatment of this workforce has been shoddy.

"We reached an honourable, sensible agreement, which would have maintained the refuse service the second city needs and kept these workers off the breadline.

"It makes no sense at all for the council to seek to destroy this settlement and make our streets dirty again, quite possibly until the end of the year.

"Unite members do not want to strike but they are being forced down this route by the council's destructive actions.

"Once again Unite appeals to the council to come to its senses. Respect the Acas agreement and do the right thing by the workers and residents of Birmingham."

Anti-trade union laws require unions to conduct a further ballot of the members concerned should there be failure to reach a settlement within the 12 weeks following the initial strike ballot.The new ballot will open on Friday 8 September, concluding on Monday 18 September.


For further information please contact Pauline Doyle on 07976832861.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.