Mark Whitehead 30 April 2019

Birmingham council apologises to union over waste dispute comments

Birmingham City Council has apologised to Unite the Union over comments made during the recent protracted dispute with refuse collectors.

In a statement, the council said its decision to make extra payments to workers whose union did not take part in the action had 'unintended consequences'.

A statement by the council said it 'retracts commentary that was made in a recent Cabinet report wherein it was incorrectly said that Unite had declared a willingness to take industrial action even if a court declared the action to be unlawful. BCC apologises for this commentary.'

Unite the Union claimed its members had been discriminated against when it was discovered that workers in another union who did not take part in a strike last year had been given extra payments.

In the settlement reached last month the council agreed to pay £3,500 each to members of the unions who took part in the dispute.

The latest announcement repeats a largely unreported agreed statement included in the papers for the settlement.

It concludes: 'All parties are committed to working together to provide a waste service that the people of Birmingham can be proud of and to this end are pleased to announce that the settlement terms have seen the creation of a working group (the Joint Services Improvement Board), to include council officers, trade union representatives and councillors, to ensure future disagreements can be resolved transparently and by discussion.'

Unite told LocalGov it had nothing to add to its previous statement last month welcoming the settlement.

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