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With the strike of Leeds refuse workers now in its fifth week, council leaders began formal talks on 5 October, after informal talks on 29 September. This is a major climb-down from the intransigent and bellicose attitude of Lib Dem council leader Richard Brett.

A Unison steward

It is evident that the council did not expect the strike to be as protracted and as solid as this. His strike breaking tactics of bringing in private contractors to make fortnightly collections have failed miserably as the growing bags of rubbish pile up all over the city. The strike has even forced local Labour MP Hillary Benn to intervene to force the council to the negotiating table.

Socialist Party members of the Leeds and Huddersfield branches have visited a city centre picket line where workers were happy to see us.

Such is the mood of the people of Leeds in sympathy with the bin workers, that on Friday, a waste truck driver told us that members of the public had hurled abuse at him. He had to explain to them that he supported the strike and he was nothing to do with the strike-breaking private contractors.

Bin workers have been out campaigning, leafleting in the city centre and raising much needed funds.

  • Please send messages of support and donations to Unison at: branch@leedsunisonlg.org.uk and the GMB at: dave.noble@leeds.gov.uk