Laura Sharman 07 February 2019

Union seeks injunction against Birmingham in long-running bin dispute

Unite is taking high court legal action against Birmingham City Council for operating refuse vehicles without safety critical role.

The union claims the council is sending out bin wagons without the safety critical grade three leading hands who operate at the rear of bin wagons.

The move comes after more than 300 refuse workers announced they will begin two days of strike action a week in an escalation of the ongoing industrial dispute.

Unite assistant general secretary, Howard Beckett, said: ‘At the heart of that dispute in 2017 was the safety critical role of the grade three leading hands at the back of bin wagons. They perform a crucial role ensuring the safety of the public and fellow workers alike around the rear of bin wagons.

‘This status was cemented in the legally binding agreement which brought that dispute to an end in 2017. That the council is now seeking to unpick it, while trying to defend the blacklisting of workers who took strike action to protect that role, is reprehensible and we believe unlawful.’

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: 'We once again entirely refute the latest misleading claims made by Unite.

'The Leading Hand role no longer exists. By agreement with Unite and with the backing of a Court Order in November 2017, it was replaced with the Waste Reduction Collection Officer role, which went operational in September 2018.

'Due to the industrial action instigated by Unite, we have had to introduce a contingency plan featuring the use of contractors (their own staff, fuel and vehicles) in order to continue to provide a waste service to the residents, visitors and businesses of Birmingham. This falls outside the remit of the agreement reached to end the 2017 dispute.

'Therefore the latest claims made by Unite are again simply without merit.

'We have made a reasonable offer to Unite to settle current litigation within a range between £2,000 to £3,000 for eligible claimants which has not been accepted by Unite’s leadership on behalf of its members and we would urge their leadership to get around the table with us at Acas as a matter of urgency so we can finally get back to providing the level of service that citizens expect and deserve.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Estate Surveyor x2

City of Bradford MDC
£28,226 - £42,614
The Council has an opportunity for a general practice and agricultural MRICS/FRICS qualified Estate Surveyors. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Apprenticeship Hub Account Manager

Stoke-on-Trent City Council
£30,095 - £32,798
A fantastic opportunity has recently opened for an ambitious and dynamic individual with a background in sales. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Recuriter: Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Customer Access Officer x3

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£31,122 - £32,112
We have three exciting opportunities within our Housing Inclusion Service, for people looking to further their career in housing. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Construction Quality Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£30,984 - £35,336
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s Urban Design & Building Services team is looking to employ a permanent Construction Quality Officer. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Social Worker

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£37,260 - £45,381
In Kensington and Chelsea, we support people’s independence and wellbeing. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.