Union accuses Sandwell Council of falsely announcing end of bin strikes

A row over the treatment of bin workers has escalated further after union bosses said a council had "falsely" announced strikes had been called off.

More action is planned this month
More action is planned this month

The argument surrounding binmen in Sandwell has continued after the GMB union said Sandwell Council had prematurely announced the cancellation of strikes.

Workers walked out on Tuesday following accusations of bullying and over pay and health and safety, bringing disruption to collections.

Further action was planned for September but that has now been suspended. But the GMB has not ruled out future strikes.

The union said action was "suspended" following emergency talks with Serco, which is contracted by the council to run waste services in the borough, and that "constructive" talks were continuing.

Labour leader of the council Rajbir Singh has been accused of "sabotaging" the talks and "undermining" progress which has been made.

Justine Jones, GMB regional organiser said: “Positive talks with Serco Sandwell are ongoing and we’re pleased with the progress so far.

“First Rajbir Singh ignored workers as strike support grew, then he failed to show any solidarity, now he blunders onto the stage to undermine their progress.

“We need politicians who will stand with our frontline heroes and fight for their safety."

Garden waste collections were suspended this week to allow the remaining workforce to focus on domestic waste collections. The council said they would resume on Monday.

Bosses said there might still be delays to collections this week and that bins should be left out until they are emptied.

Dozens of binmen gathered outside the Serco depot on Tuesday to make their feelings known, as the GMB declared they were “standing up to the bullies”.

Sandwell Council deputy leader Maria Crompton said: “We are happy to hear that discussions between Serco and the GMB Union have been successful and further disruption to residents waste services has been prevented."

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