Union chiefs have called off bin strike action in Dundee after councillors agreed to scrap a policy of compulsory redundancies.
Union members at Dundee City Council had contemplated striking in response to the local authority’s controversial Managing Workforce Change policy.
But two weeks of action by waste management workers have been averted after councillors agreed to Labour leader Kevin Keenan’s motion to drop the plan.
His motion also called on the council to recognise that such changes can only be imposed after “full consultation with the workforce and their trade unions”.
Unions say the policy was introduced without any consultation.
Mr Keenan said: “I don’t want to see families losing money but I don’t want to see services disrupted either. This gets us back round the table, in a better place.”
Stuart Fairweather, Dundee branch chairman at Unite, described the move as an “important step forward” in relations between the council and workers.
He said last night: “The outcome of tonight’s council meeting will be welcomed by the local authority trade unions. Unite and the other unions called for the policy to be rescinded. The fact that it has been is an important step forward.
“The pressure staff are under was highlighted. The spectre of compulsory redundancy should never have been raised.”
Mr Fairweather had urged councillors to scrap the Managing Workforce Change plan to get unions back around the table.
The policy, drawn up and agreed in February, was a response to a statement from council umbrella body Cosla that councils consider compulsory job losses as “a measure of last resort”.
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However, unions have accused the council of enacting a policy of compulsory job cuts by stealth – something it strenuously denies.
Council leader John Alexander submitted a similar motion to that of Mr Keenan – but councillors favoured the Labour paper because the SNP motion did not mention consulting with unions.
Liberal Democrat group leader Fraser Macpherson said: “The Labour motion is the better one and I gladly choose to support that.”
Support for the Labour motion came from across the chamber – including, as Coldside councillor George McIrvine pointed out, Dundee’s Conservative representatives. He added: “Perhaps they should consider changing their name to the Scottish Conservative and Trade Unionist Party.”
The motion was passed unanimously, with Mr Alexander “happy to accept” the Labour alternative to his own proposal. He said: “We need to have these conversations, however challenging they may be.”