A threat of strike action by Kirklees bin workers seems certain to be lifted.
Members of Unison meeting yesterday afternoon (Thurs) agreed to suspend the week-long strike set to start on June 4 after Kirklees Council announced it would carry out an investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment – but only as long as another specific issue is addressed by Kirklees Council.
Paul Holmes, Kirklees Unison branch secretary, said: “They have voted to suspend action pending one issue being sorted out tomorrow.”
Mr Holmes declined to expand on the matter but said he would be meeting Kirklees managers and was confident it could be resolved.
Unison had recommended suspension of the strike following an eight-hour meeting between Unison, Kirklees and the arbitration service ACAS this week.
Mr Holmes said the council had agreed at that meeting to a “full and transparent” investigation into bullying and harassment investigation, which is expected to be completed by June 1.
He said: “The feeling from yesterday’s (Thurs) meeting is that they don’t want to strike, but they are prepared to.”
Bin workers had voted 85.5% in favour of strike action , based on a turn out of 86.1%.
The strike ballot was prompted by a series of allegations of bullying and harassment by managers towards bin collectors, the inability to take holidays and lieu days, issues with the length of bin rounds and grievances being ignored for six months.
Earlier this week, Karl Battersby, director for economy and infrastructure at Kirklees Council, who has been in the post since February, accepted there were issues the council needs to change and asked workers to have confidence in him to resolve the current issues.
Karl Battersby, Strategic Director, Economy and Infrastructure Kirklees Council, said: "UNISON members have today voted unanimously to suspend strike action, pending the outcome of the independent investigation into bullying and harassment.
"The council welcomes this news and the fact that no disruption will be caused to our residents as a result of industrial action. We remain committed to working with the unions to resolve the concerns which have been raised and will continue to review the service to ensure we deliver the best possible service for our residents and businesses."