National and Devolved Politics

04.02.19

Refuse worker strike action to be ‘escalated’ in Birmingham City Council’s bin row

A new all-out bin strike in Birmingham is now imminent after the Unite union has promised that industrial action “will be escalated” after talks failed to settle the dispute with the city council.

Unite has given Birmingham City Council a 24-hour ultimatum after the two have been locked in detailed talks during the last week, but Unite said the talks have failed to settle the dispute and the council has failed to give a “satisfactory response.”

Around 300 Unite members went on strike on 29 December over payments given to other refuse workers under the GMB union after 222 days of strikes from GMB members in 2017 cost the council more than £6m in total.

Birmingham City Council then approved a move to seek a court injunction against the refuse workers if it refused a formal officer to resolve the dispute through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), as it alleged the industrial action was “unlawful.”

But the council’s move was met with fierce criticism from unions who called it a “declaration of war,” and the authority’s cabinet member for clean streets, waste and recycling resigned, stating that he could be part of the legal action.

Now Unite has said that the industrial action will be escalated after it claimed its refuse workers were having holiday requests denied, leading to the union lodging employment tribunal claims alleging its members have been “blacklisted” for their involvement in the strikes.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Howard Beckett commented: “This dispute is entirely of Birmingham council’s making, following the decision to secretly pay extra money to a small group of workers who did not take strike action.

“The council, not content with threatening the use of Tory anti-trade union laws, is once again penalising workers for taking lawful industrial action by denying their requests for holiday.

“This is yet another example of Unite members being discriminated against for taking lawful industrial action. The council should be under no illusion. Unite will not allow its members to be treated less favourably than other sections of the workforce, or sit back in the face of tactics designed to intimidate our members.

“We would urge the council to drop the pound shop bully boy tactics amid mounting legal costs and engage meaningfully with Unite to ensure that our members in the refuse service have parity with the rest of the workforce.

“If not resolved the people of Birmingham will not forgive the council for this dispute.”

We have reached out to Birmingham City Council for a comment.

Image credit -  David Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Council suspends contract with litter enforcement firm Kingdom after businesses complain about ‘aggressive’ fines

15/02/2019Council suspends contract with litter enforcement firm Kingdom after businesses complain about ‘aggressive’ fines

Wirral Council has suspended a contract with an enforcement firm after a raft of complaints around improper fines to businesses. The council... more >
Sutton London Borough Council permanent chief executive announced

15/02/2019Sutton London Borough Council permanent chief executive announced

The new chief executive of Sutton London Borough Council has been announced, with Helen Bailey taking up the role at the authority. Followin... more >
County council apologises over mistaken Prince Philip death notice

15/02/2019County council apologises over mistaken Prince Philip death notice

Hampshire County Council has apologised after mistakenly publishing a notice that Prince Philip had died in what has been blamed on an “int... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Newham LBC to sue RBS over £150m in LOBO loans

08/02/2019Newham LBC to sue RBS over £150m in LOBO loans

Newham London Borough Council is to sue the Royal Bank of Scotland over the terms of around £150m worth of LOBO bank-loans, making it the latest council to take legal action against banks o... more >
Edinburgh Council becomes first UK authority to introduce ‘tourist tax’

07/02/2019Edinburgh Council becomes first UK authority to introduce ‘tourist tax’

Councillors at Edinburgh City Council voted today to approve the first ever UK ‘tourist tax’ which will raise an estimated £14.6m annually. The Transient Visitor Levy (TVL)... more >

the raven's daily blog

Blog: Virgin Media Business support EvoNorth

13/02/2019Blog: Virgin Media Business support EvoNorth

"We are delighted to be a Strategic Partner to EvoNorth 2019. We’re looking forward to joining leaders from across the north to hear their vision for shaping the region and how we can help to make this a reality" EvoNorth welcome strategic partner Virgin Media Business to next month's event. They will be supporting our exclusive Health,... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Government accountability: A year in crises

15/01/2019Government accountability: A year in crises

From Windrush to Univerisal Credit: the Institute for Government’s (IfG’s) accountability lead Benoit Guerin discusses how we can ave... more >
Rethinking public-private partnerships

15/01/2019Rethinking public-private partnerships

Trinley Walker, senior policy researcher at the New Local Government Network (NLGN) considers some different ways of approaching the relationship... more >
Fracking: divest to invest

07/01/2019Fracking: divest to invest

Deirdre Duff, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth, takes a look at local authorities’ role in fracking. The fossil fuel indu... more >
Building credit with the public sector

07/01/2019Building credit with the public sector

Mark Morrin, localism lead and principal research consultant at ResPublica, makes the case for salary-deducted lending to sit alongside a broader... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News