The SKWAWKBOX has covered the fight by refuse workers against Birmingham City Council (BCC) to save their modest salaries from a huge cut, revealing conclusive evidence that BCC had made a deal with their union to preserve their grading and income – and that the council leader who made the deal did so with the full knowledge and authorisation of the council’s cabinet and officers.
Those revelations led to the resignation of the council leader and gave a voice to the workers, but the council is still attempting to row back from its firm commitment and issued redundancy notices to its refuse workers in an attempt to pressure them into accepting lower salaries or moving to fixed-term contracts in other departments.
Unite union won an injunction against the council, preventing it from implementing redundancies that are clearly unlawful – but BCC is still attempting to pressure and intimidate its employees into taking a pay-cut that will impoverish them and even lead to some losing their homes.
Some 113 ‘leading hand’ refuse workers have received a letter from the council telling them that if it succeeds in overturning the injunction it will consider that the time elapsed is included in their notice periods, leaving them little time to find work or plan for the loss of their jobs:
Unite assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett responded angrily, telling the SKWAWKBOX:
The letter is clearly designed to intimidate our members further. The reality is that the Council was lambasted in the Court judgement giving Unite an interim judgement (and costs) and Unite have absolute confidence the full hearing will be even worse for the Council.
Stella Manzie cannot hide from a Court hearing. Her incompetence and worse will be exposed. That a Labour Council is allowing the continued intimidation of its workforce has gone beyond acceptable. There are NEC agreements as to how Labour Councils should conduct themselves and this is now simply unforgivable.
Those councillors must stand up to their officers or accept that they do not represent Labour values or policies and are Labour in name only.
Ian Ward has just been elected to replace John Clancy as council leader. He needs to show true leadership and to show he is true labour. The Acas deal was agreed by the cabinet as a collective. Ian should now take the time to fully investigate the decisions and actions of his officers. In doing so he will be able to dismiss the equal pay concerns manufactured by Stella Manzie and uphold the Acas deal.
The people of Birmingham deserve leadership that has true labour principles at its core.
BCC’s statement of values looks more than ever like a sick joke:
Nobody is laughing.
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