B’ham bin strike court decision tomorrow – and council selections suspended

bham bin bags

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.

beckett tuc
Howard Beckett speaking to last week’s TUC conference

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.

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  1. Good work, SKWAWKBOX (Sp)

    And – lest we forget – The Party needs to investigate the role of regional officers / national officers in the candidate selection process. If it turns out that officers were involved, their actions in other candidate selections must be re-examined. It wasn’t just Birmingham that suffered.

  2. The question is why did McNicol and the NEC drag their feet for such a long time. One could be forgiven for thinking that they are panicking about being exposed at conference.

  3. There is clearly a deep and ingrained level of corruption in the Brighton City Council. Specifically, the corruption can be traced to right wing Labour councillors.

    Government is a matter of trust. How can a party be trusted if its right wing councillors are corrupt?

    The NEC must take immediate action to root out the corrupt councillors in the Brighton City Council.

    If it fails to do so then it is complicit with that corruption.

    1. Sorry, meant to write “the NEC must take immediate action to root out the corrupt councillors in Birmingham City Council”.

      However, the same principle applies to many councils around the country with corrupt right wing Labour councillors.

      It is imperative that the Labour Party and the NEC acts with extreme prejudice against corrupt right wing Labour Councillors across the whole country.

      Put bluntly, until we have cut out this corrupt right wing cancer from the party we will not be fit or able to serve as a Labour Government.

  4. It would be interesting to know how many of the candidates for Birmingham’s council seats have already been selected and how many remain to be decided. As far as I know quite a few have already been sorted. Will this new NEC ruling have much of an impact?

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