Socialist Worker

Birmingham bin workers furious as council reneges on deal

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2236

Bin workers in Birmingham are furious as they have discovered that council managers have reneged on a deal reached last week.

Over 400 refuse workers, including drivers, collectors and street sweepers, have been involved in industrial action over imposed pay cuts of up to £4,000 a year. This has included strikes and a work to rule.

The workers—members of the GMB, Unite, Unison and Ucatt unions—called off their strike last week after management promised to sack the 200 scab workers employed to break the strike and negotiate on the pay cut.

But workers have discovered that management are instead employing a further 200 scabs this week.

Paul Langley, a GMB rep on the bins, told Socialist Worker that management have set up a separate depot for the scab workers.

“Our members are incredibly angry,” Paul said. “Management have kicked us in the teeth and made a mockery of us and the negotiations. Our members are asking why we should trust them.”

The council was under intense pressure as uncollected rubbish piled up across Birmingham.

A strike would have added to this and shown management that the workers were prepared to fight.

But instead the union officials argued for further negotiations and to call the industrial action off.

Now that management have reneged on the deal, workers should walk back out on strike.

It is also important for the trade unions operating across the refuse sector to recruit the scab workers.

Birmingham management want to use the scabs as a weapon against organised workers, but if they join the union they can be part of the battle against the bullying bosses.

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Tue 25 Jan 2011, 18:35 GMT
Issue No. 2236
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