HOUSTON (AP) _ Mayor Kathy Whitmire will rehire the 84 garbage collectors fired for taking part in a three-day wildcat strike earlier this month, a spokesman said.

The workers will be suspended for 30 days without pay, and will be able to return to work Sept. 19, spokesman Paul Mabry said Friday.

Four will be be demoted from driver to laborer because they were identified as instigators in the strike, he said.

Mrs. Whitmire decided to suspend the workers instead of fire them after meeting with City Council members this week, Mabry said.

As many as 400 of Houston's 500 garbage collectors walked off their jobs Aug. 18 to protest increased work because of layoffs.

Most returned by Aug. 21, but not before the mayor fired the 84 because they had broken the law by showing up for work but refusing to do their jobs, officials said.

The mayor decided some of the strikers may not have realized the consequence of their actions, Mabry said.