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Action called off by Birmingham bin workers
The long running dispute between Birmingham city council and its refuse workers ended when agreement was reached on 9 March.
Birmingham refuse workers took four days of strike action before Christmas. This was in opposition to plans to cut salaries by as much as £4,000 a year under the single status agreement between unions and local authority employers. The council blamed sex discrimination legislation which meant it could not pay bonuses to men that were not available to women.
Industrial action was called off early this year pending further talks. In February the workers had rejected by 95% to 5% an almost identical offer to that which was accepted.
Bin workers will lose between £600 and £4,000 a year. Workers interviewed on local news felt disappointed but resigned to the situation.
It was clearly a mistake to postpone the dispute when action was effective. Action should have continued while the talks were going on. Local authority unions need to be much more decisive if pay, conditions and jobs are not to be decimated in the future
Clive Walder, Birmingham Socialist Party
In The Socialist 16 March 2011:
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