Following comments made by Councillor Timothy Huxtable on Sunday, suggesting refuse collectors were employing “guerilla tactics”, Tony Rabaiotti of Unison sent us comment earlier today: “Councillor Huxtable is being disingenuous in his comments. Some 4 years ago the trade unions pointed out that the then Bonus being paid to Refuse Collectors was unlawful and they subsequently tabled on 2 separate occasions equality proofed schemes which would have been appropriate to consider as they have been elsewhere in the country but Birmingham City Council refused point blank to consider these suggestions and simply ignored them.

“Of course, the Council then removed a significant amount of money from these employees causing them significant financial hardship and leading us to where we are today.

“Industrial Action is only taken as a last resort but the good news is that at the time of writing, negotiators from the trade unions and Birmingham City Council are in talks aimed at bringing an end to this dispute.”

However, this evening it has been announced that, as a result of ongoing talks between unions and BCC, planned strike action for Thursday 13th and Friday 14th January has been suspended. Talks between all parties will continue in the hope of reaching agreement.

Cllr Alan Rudge, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Human Resources, said:  “Following two days of very constructive talks I am delighted that we have been able to reach agreement which will see the action suspended and provide an opportunity for us to continue holding further discussions with a view to reaching a permanent solution.

“I appreciate that management and the Trades Unions have worked very hard and shown much goodwill in coming to this agreement, and on behalf of one million citizens of the city wish to offer all involved my thanks.”

Cllr Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Regeneration, added: “I would like to thank the people of Birmingham for their efforts in helping us to get through this difficult situation, and apologise for the inconvenience it has caused.”

Casual staff will continue to assist regular waste collection crews while they try and clear the backlog of refuse and recycling collections.

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