Labour welcomes the news that a deal to at last end the bin strike that residents have been suffering through has been agreed in principle, subject to the Council’s Policy & Resources Committee meeting on Tuesday.
However, Labour Councillors are stunned it took this long to reach a deal, when this should have been resolved long before strike action even took place.
Throughout this process, the Labour Group have been urging the administration to get round the table with the GMB and negotiate, to seek dispensation to address fire safety issues in bin stores, and to bring in an independent mediator to help resolve the dispute. Labour’s amendment at Policy & Resources Committee last week actually instructed officers to do those things immediately, and if those steps had been taken sooner residents may not have had to put up with rubbish piling up in the streets for the past two weeks.
Labour’s co-leaders of the Opposition, Cllr Carmen Appich and Cllr John Allcock said:
“This is positive news. It has taken considerable time and extensive negotiations to ensure residents should finally see their refuse being collected.
“It is disappointing that it has taken this long and that Labour needed to step in to assist the administration in resolving the dispute. A special meeting of the Council agreed with our suggestions last week and which gave the council the steer it needed to resolve the dispute.
“We are truly sorry that the residents of our city have had to endure such a prolonged dispute that could and should have been settled earlier but for the approach taken by the Green administration. Serious lessons must be learned.
“We need to see a commitment to resolving the underlying issues that led to strike action. Labour left a plan in place to fix these issues before moving into opposition. That included the recruitment of a senior industrial relations officer who has still not been appointed.
“There have been a host of missed opportunities and errors by the administration that have led us to this point. As a council, we must collectively reaffirm our commitment to residents and staff alike to get basic services delivered effectively and efficiently.”