Binmen clean up

The Leeds bin strike is over, after management and unions agreed a deal which will see most workers receive pay rises linked to productivity targets being hit.

Residents across Leeds will begin to see a full refuse collection for the first time in 11 weeks from tomorrow.

Striking binmen and women voted by 79 per cent in favour of a return to work, in what the Morning Star has described as a “victory” for the refuse workers and street cleaners.

The strike, reported by Left Foot Forward in September, was started as the Lib Dem/Tory-run city council used equal pay legislation to equalise pay between men and women in a way which Unions claimed would have led to some refuse workers receiving a cut in pay of up to £6,000.

However, after hard negotiations, which saw 92 per cent of strikers reject an initial revised offer, both sides have finally settled on an agreement which, whilst seeing 20 workers take a pay cut, will see most receiving small pay rises tied to achieving productivity targets.

Richard Brett, Liberal Democrat leader of the Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition said:

“We have been able to work up slightly amended proposals which completely eradicate pay losses for many workers.

“We will also continue to work with other members of refuse staff who stand to lose money to see what can be done to close any pay gap.”

On behalf of the workers, GMB Regional Organiser Neil Derrick issued a statement, in which he said:

“GMB members have voted emphatically to return to work because they recognise the victory that their solidarity over 12 weeks has delivered. Twelve weeks ago they faced savage pay cuts and privatisation; today they have agreed to return to work on Wednesday with both threats removed.

“GMB would like to place on record our thanks to the people of Leeds who, despite the inconvenience they faced, recognised the just cause of the cleaning workers. The practical support from trade union members throughout Britain has also been fantastic.”

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