Birmingham bin workers agree to call off five-month dispute

Refuse workers in Birmingham have agreed to end a long-running strike that left huge piles of rubbish in the city’s streets. Union members voted to accept an agreement hammered out at the conciliation service Acas, officially ending industrial action that had led to thousands of tonnes of waste left uncollected.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said it was a “victory for common sense” and confirmed the strike was over after members agreed a deal with the city council.

Refuse collection workers began strike action in June over a planned change to their pay and working conditions which left jobs at risk.

Under the agreement, refuse workers are set to move to new roles in February, but will remain on their current wage. The new arrangement was endorsed by the council’s cabinet on Friday.

“The people of Birmingham no longer need worry about the disruption of industrial action,” said Beckett. “This deal, which protects the livelihoods of hardworking 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.”

Unite said as part of the deal a high court hearing planned for Monday will not go ahead.

The council has agreed to pay the union’s legal costs.