Refuse workers vote to strike as council cuts one in five jobs

refuse workers bin men

refuse workers bin menRefuse workers at Birmingham City Council have voted overwhelmingly for strike action over job losses.

The Unite members voted 90% in favour of strike action over proposed job cuts to the city’s waste and refuse service and attempts by council bosses to tear up long standing agreements with the union covering staffing levels and working patterns. They also voted 93% for industrial action short of a strike.

The ballot results came at the same time as council bosses announced that they intended to make 122 waste collection staff redundant in the next fortnight which is about 20% of the actual refuse collection squad.

Unite regional officer Lynne Shakespeare said: “It is unfortunate that the day the ballot results came through, the council’s waste management service announced it intended to make 122 waste collection staff redundant in two weeks’ time.

“Loyal employees, who have worked, in some cases, for up to 30 years in waste services, are being told that they are no longer wanted and need to find alternative work.

“The loss of jobs in this area is a disgrace, as bosses continue to increase recruiting agency workers – there appears to be no coherent workplace planning by the council.

“We discovered during the farcical consultation that the management has been instructing our members to collect side waste (boxes and bags left beside the bins) even though it is not budgeted for; to collect ‘green’ waste from residents who have not paid for this service.

“The management can’t keep to a budget, having created a huge £9.7m overspend in the financial year for 2016.

“The sad thing about this is that our members are going to pay the price for this incompetence with their jobs and the Birmingham taxpayers are picking up the tab for mismanagement of waste services.

“We are currently consulting with our members as to the next steps in regards to industrial action as all of the 122 posts due to be cut are in safety sensitive areas, such as the operation and safety at the rear of the vehicles.”

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