The High Court in London has today (Wednesday 20th September) ordered Birmingham City Council to hold off on 113 redundancy notices handed to refuse workers at the end of last month. 

The ruling means that, despite refuse workers voting overwhelmingly to continue with strike action earlier this week, the strike has been also been suspended.

The pause will be in place until there can be a full trial to decide whether Birmingham City Council acted within the law in issuing the redundancy notices.

 

The notices were given on 31st August, two weeks after the strikes were suspended after ACAS and workers’ union Unite stated that cabinet members had agreed, in principle, to save the posts which were set to be downgraded as part of reforms to the city’s refuse collection service.

Strikes immediately restarted after the notices were issued and council leader John Clancy resigned last week after coming under fire for his handling of the issue.

The interim order from the High Court means both the redundancy notices and the strike are now on hold until the matter goes to a full trial. The trial, which is likely to be in late November according to BBC News, is  likely to last around 5 days.

In the meantime, talks between union and council bosses – overseen by conciliation service ACAS – will continue in the hope of finding an earlier solution.

Following the ruling, Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This judgment will be a huge relief to Birmingham’s bin workers, who in just a matter of weeks were facing losing their job or pay cuts of up to £5,000 a year.

“As part of the ruling Unite will suspend its industrial action until the matter is put before a full court hearing at a later date.

“The High Court ruling leaves Birmingham council’s unfair and unjust plans in tatters. The council needs to reflect on how it got here and the misery it has inflicted on the people of Birmingham and its own bin workers.

“At no stage did the council raise in court the issue of equal pay and potential costs. This scaremongering has been outed by the court proceedings as a work of pure fiction.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “We obviously accept today’s ruling which will mean further consideration by the courts.

“The council wants to offer the best possible refuse service for citizens and wants to work with Unite and all the other unions to do this. We remain committed to resolving the dispute as quickly as possible and we hope Unite will support us in doing this.”

When will my bins be collected? 

  • Keep an eye on the Birmingham City Council website for an updated schedule of planned refuse collections – be aware that while services are still disrupted, this schedule may change at any time. Most recent updates 
  • Be aware that your WARD may be different from your address. Check which ward you live in 
  • If your bins are not collected within the timeframe specified on the BCC site: Report a  missed collection

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