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HUNDREDS of Birmingham bin workers went on strike today over allegations that the council has discriminated against those who took part in industrial action more than a year ago.
More than 250 Unite members formed picket lines across the city as they began a first wave of industrial action.
Union sources said that 90 per cent of the 300 workers involved in the dispute turned up to show their solidarity and a sea of red flags lined the streets.
The refuse collectors’ action was sparked by concerns that they may be put on an employers’ blacklist for taking part in a three-month strike that ended in late 2017.
Following that dispute, which was over proposed job losses, it was revealed that the workers who did not take part received payments of several thousand pounds from the council.
As a result, Unite began balloting for industrial action in November and its members among Birmingham’s bin workers have been on a work to rule since late December.
The council said the payments were not made because members had kept on working but because they had been left out of conciliatory talks that resolved the strike last year.
However, the council’s cabinet member for clean streets Majid Mahmood resigned from his post to support the dispute.
Speaking at a picket, Mr Mahmood expressed his “disappointment” with the council, saying he “firmly believes” that it is prejudiced against Unite members.
“I’m hoping the council will see sense and end the discrimination against these workers,” he added.
Unite West Midlands regional chair Asif Mohammed told the Star: “Our members have shown today a resolve stronger than steel and courage beyond measure.
“They will not be intimidated and bullied by fat-cat council bosses determined to break their collective will.
“There is no justification for secret, clandestine payments for those that cross picket lines and we will not rest until justice is done.”
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson claimed that the authority had offered Unite members up to £3,000 in compensation, calling it a “reasonable” offer.
However, Unite says that this is about £600 less than what the council gave to other members.
The current series of strikes is expected to continue until late March.
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