Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 13:20 UK

Date set for refuse strike action

The council described the strike plans as "extremely disappointing"

Refuse collectors in Leeds are planning "indefinite" strike action from 7 September after talks to resolve a pay dispute with the council broke down.

The GMB and Unison unions are unhappy with what they say are proposals by the authority to cut their pay by up to £6,000 per year from February 2011.

A GMB spokesman said the council had put forward plans for a bonus scheme but could not give enough details.

The council said it wanted talks with the unions to continue.

Bill Chard, from the GMB, said: "There seems to be a complete lack of understanding and basic decency on behalf of the leadership of the council.

"I cannot comprehend why they believe that such huge cuts of this magnitude would be acceptable to our members."

Contingency plans

Mr Chard said the strike action would cause "mayhem".

He said: "Our members take this action out of desperation; they know that however they juggle their home finances they will not be able to pay the household bills."

Last week refuse collectors voted by more than two to one in favour of industrial action.

In a statement, Leeds City Council said the unions' reaction was "extremely disappointing". It said it hoped to have further talks next week.

Council leader Richard Brett said: "We were encouraged by the continuation of talks held today, and are committed to resolving this dispute with further discussions.

"Today we outlined some proposals which we felt had a legitimate basis for addressing the pay gap but we must work within the job evaluation process, set out in the pay and grading review.

"We firmly believe industrial action will not resolve the pay issue, it will also inconvenience the public and lead to loss of pay to those involved."

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