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Hopes to end Leeds bin strike fail

Leeds City Council has expressed disappointment and dismay after striking bin workers rejected a deal to get them back to work.

Striking refuse collectors have been embroiled in a row over pay and have been on strike since 7 September

The recent proposals made to the workers by the council meant that pay losses would have been reduced from £4,491 to £231 a year for the biggest group of staff, if performance targets were met.

GMB Union regional organiser Desiree Risebury told MRW that 92 per cent of workers rejected the councils offer and will be on strike until we can negotiate a deal.

Leeds City Council councillor Richard Brett said: I simply do not understand why workers have rejected what was an excellent offer. With hard work we had found a way of addressing the pay gap for the majority of staff which was the primary reason given for the strike in the first place.

Therefore, its clear to me now that the dispute is no longer principally to do with money its about productivity and efficiency.

The council made it clear that this offer was the only one on the table.

Councillor Andrew Carter added: I am dismayed that these employees have rejected the councils offer. It is wrong that Leeds has a refuse collection service that is 20 per cent less efficient than many other councils an inefficiency that equates to approximately £2 million.

That is why we were very happy to put a proposal on the table that dealt with the pay gap issue, as long as the workforce delivered the required productivity in return.

The council had plans to pay refuse collectors a new salary of £18,706 per year from January 2011. The new salary for refuse drivers would have been £21,616 and Risebury said that they would have had to work extra hours to receive this pay.

The union and the council are still in talks over the pay issue.

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