BIN workers in Birmingham could roll their strike through to Christmas if the city council refuses to stop plans to dump a fifth of the refuse workforce and slash wages by up to £5,000 a year.
Refuse workers who are members of union Unite have been staging sporadic strikes for more than six weeks — and Unite said yesterday that the industrial action could go on for months.
Rubbish has piled up in the city’s streets, attracting rats and maggots, but the Labour council insists its plans to re-grade jobs, cut wages, and sack around 120 staff are needed to meet Westminster funding cuts.
Unite says that the council has now indicated a willingness to negotiate, but the union is also preparing to re-ballot workers when their strike mandate runs out in September.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said he hoped that council leader John Clancy will be involved on the negotiating team.
And he asked the people of Birmingham for their “understanding” over the dispute.
“If members of the public place themselves in our members’ shoes, they will know that losing thousands of pounds a year in income means missing mortgage payments, failing to keep up with their rents and not being able feed their children,” Mr Beckett added.
He said he accepted that the council had been targeted for huge budget cuts and needed to “mitigate the harsh effects of austerity.”
He added: “We will not discuss low-paid members with families losing up to 20 per cent of their wages because of historical mismanagement and Tory-driven austerity.”