Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

City bin strike talks postponed

Overflowing bins in Leeds
The bin strike is in its 10th week

Talks aimed at bringing an end to a 10-week strike by refuse workers and street cleaning staff in Leeds have been delayed.

Last week unions put forward proposals on behalf of workers who walked out in a row over pay on 7 September.

However, the Unison and GMB unions said they were "frustrated" after the council delayed talks until next week so it could seek further legal advice.

The council said more time was needed to checks for "potential legal risks".

A council spokesman said: "The trade unions have suggested some fundamental changes to the pay and grading structure.

"Clearly these changes can't be considered lightly, it is complex and requires legal and financial advice.

"We can't rush this work, and they too have acknowledged that more time is needed to fully explore their proposals and check both the affordability and potential legal risks.

"We have committed to speaking with them again on Monday and will be meeting with them again as soon as possible next week."

Longer wait

Unison regional organiser Tony Pearson said: "We are bitterly disappointed that the council did not have the legal advice they say they need in time for today's talks.

"It means that there is yet another delay to negotiating a fair and just settlement to this strike, but they are adamant that they have to seek top-level legal advice before they can respond to the unions' proposals on grading of posts in the service.

"Our members and the people of Leeds will just have to wait even longer to get this service back into operation and cleaning up our streets."

A new offer by the council was rejected last month after unions said some of the productivity targets which formed part of the deal were unachievable.

During talks on 2 November the council's leaders agreed to review the targets.

The deal offered by the council would mean an annual pay cut of £231 for refuse collectors, instead of the £4,491 salary drop they originally faced.

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