The SKWAWKBOX has covered the actions of Birmingham City Council (BCC) in its dealings with its refuse collectors at some length. This blog’s exclusive revelation of two key emails proved that the council acted in bad faith in going back on a firm and fully-authorised deal that was not only made with Unite union negotiators but confirmed by mediation specialists ACAS and communicated by the now-resigned council leader to depot managers as a fait accompli.
Because of the council’s refusal to honour its word, Unite went to court to seek an injunction against the unlawful redundancy notices the council issued when it had promised not to. The court’s decision is due tomorrow.
Unite’s Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett spoke to the SKWAWKBOX about tomorrow’s vital decision:
I will be disappointed if we haven’t won this. If we have won it is on the basis we give an undertaking to suspend industrial action pending the final hearing. That’s what we planned to do all along, but the court has moved that forward in any event. We will know at 11 am tomorrow. If we have won its massive.
Incredibly their QC (the same counsel who supposedly advised on EP liabilities) made not one single mention that this would expose the council to increased litigation and equal pay costs – not a single mention in their defence , skeleton or oral submissions.
That has to be accepted now as a complete and utter lie playing to an emotional agenda, intended to divide the unions and complete opportunism. In and of itself, that is enough to require [BCC interim chief executive Stella] Manzie to go.
The council’s main – in fact only remotely credible – objection to the deal with the refuse workers was its claim that maintaining safety responsibilities and grade-3 status for rear-of-vehicle ‘leading hands’ would open it up to equal-pay claims. The direct saving involved is far too small to justify the council’s action.
That credibility was always thin to the point of being vaporous – but for the council to rely on it publicly, yet its legal representatives not even to mention it in court, beggars belief.
Meanwhile, in their remarkable pre-conference meeting today, Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) took the radical decision of suspending all candidate selections for Birmingham’s 2018 council elections because of the anti-democratic and unlawful behaviour of Labour right-wingers in blocking left-wing candidates and disenfranchising voters.
BCC must be held to account. For the sake of the workers and of the residents of Birmingham, a positive judgment by the court tomorrow granting the injunction to the striking refuse workers is essential.
And for the sake of everyone in the city, the wholesale replacement of right-wing councillors is equally important.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.