Birmingham strike finally ends with 100 jobs protected

An agreement between members of the Unite union and Birmingham City Council will see over 100 refuse collection staff keep their jobs after five months of industrial action. Announced at the weekend, the deal will see Grade Three workers threatened with redundancy retained, with a change of job title and added responsibilities including data collection for refuse compliance.

The dispute began in June, based on the council’s plans to make 113 refuse workers redundant as part of a plan to save £5 million a year, though the council maintained that alternative employment within the council would have been offered to those affected. The strikes have cost the council around £6.6 million and had been due to go to a High Court hearing after a preliminary judgement from the High Court ruled in the union’s favour, calling the council’s issuing of redundancy notices ‘unlawful’. Unite agreed to suspend industrial action until the full hearing, which was due to begin today (27 November).

However a deal was struck on Saturday (25 November), which will see 106 staff remain on their existing wages in new roles, as Waste Reduction and Collection Officers, with an additional focus on engaging and educating with residents on how to recycle and what they throw away. The workers will transition to the new roles in February.