LEADERS of the Labour group have described the deal agreed to end the bin strike as "positive news", but said they are stunned that the dispute took so long to resolve.

Co-leaders Carmen Appich and John Allcock said that the Green-led council should have resolved the dispute long before strike action took place, and said if steps to negotiate had been taken sooner, residents may not have had to put up with rubbish piling up in the streets.

In a statement, they said: "We are truly sorry that the residents of our city have had to endure such a prolonged dispute that could and should have been settled earlier but for the approach taken by the Green administration. Serious lessons must be learned.

"We need to see a commitment to resolving the underlying issues that led to strike action. Labour left a plan to fix these issues before moving into opposition. That included the recruitment of a senior industrial relations officer who has still not been appointed.

"There have been a host of missed opportunities and errors by the administration that have led us to this point.

"As a council, we must collectively reaffirm our commitment to residents and staff alike to get basic services delivered effectively and efficiently."

A deal proposed by the council to the GMB over the weekend was approved in a vote of members earlier this morning.

The proposal will be submitted to the council's policy and resources committee for approval in a meeting tomorrow.

Should the resolution be ratified, residents will avoid a planned five-week strike that was due to take place from Thursday.

A council spokesman said: "We’re pleased that the formal resolution proposal has this morning been agreed by GMB members and it will now be put forward to the council’s Policy & Resources Committee for ratification in the next few days.

"We apologise to residents, business and visitors to the city for the disruption during the last few weeks and thank you for your patience."

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