Unite hails a ‘victory for common sense’ as Birmingham bin dispute ends

Britain’s largest union, Unite, has praised the solidarity and determination of Birmingham city council refuse workers after they backed a deal at a mass meeting that brings the long running Birmingham bin dispute to an end. 

Describing the deal as a ‘victory for common sense’, Unite said the deal, hammered out at Acas with Birmingham city council, would see the grade three role retained, albeit it with a change of job title and added responsibilities, such as data collection for refuse compliance. 

Refuse workers are set to transition to the new roles in February 2018 under the deal, which was endorsed by Birmingham city council’s cabinet on Friday. 

As part of the deal, the high court hearing will not go ahead as envisaged. Birmingham city council has agreed to pay Unite’s legal costs and a court order is expected to legally cement the agreement. 

Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary, Howard Beckett, said: “This deal secures the grade three role and protects the pay of workers who faced losing thousands of pounds. 

“It is a victory for common sense and a victory for the people of Birmingham who no longer need worry about the disruption of industrial action. 

“This deal, which protects the livelihoods of hard working refuse workers, would not have been possible without the determination and solidarity of Unite members. 

“Rather than rolling over, they stood firm through thick and thin to defend their jobs and the service they provide to the city of Birmingham. 

“The stand that Birmingham’s refuse workers took and the victory they have secured should be an inspiration to others right across the trade union movement.”