Birmingham Bin Dispute: Councillor Resigns & Fortnightly Collections Introduced

The latest in Birmingham City Council’s dispute with Unite Union has seen councillor Majid Mahmood resign, following council’s decision to move forward with an injunction against the union. Fortnightly collections have also been introduced following the city’s refuse collectors voting to “work to rule”.  

The latest round of industrial action in the city began on Saturday, 29 December 2018 after the Unite union made claims that the council made payments worth “several thousand pounds” to a group of refuse workers who did not take part in last year’s bin dispute.

The council said that no payments were made to employees who were represented by the GMB union in the refuse service for not going on strike during the industrial action last year.

The Labour-run city council has now approved a move to seek an injunction against Unite union if it refused a formal offer to resolve the dispute through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

Leader of the council Cllr Ian Ward – “The people of Birmingham want us to resolve the waste collection dispute as quickly as possible and cabinet members agreed a way forward on Monday 14 January, but unfortunately Cllr Mahmood changed his mind and was subsequently unwilling to support that way forward”

Following the announcement over the intended court action, Councillor Majid Mahmood – Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Waste and Recycling – has resigned from the council’s cabinet.

In a tweeted statement, councillor Majid Mahmood said: “I will not be a party to using Tory legislation to attack our trade union comrades. This goes against the very fabric of my socialist principles.”

Leader of the council Cllr Ian Ward said: “The people of Birmingham want us to resolve the waste collection dispute as quickly as possible and cabinet members agreed a way forward on Monday 14 January, but unfortunately Cllr Mahmood changed his mind and was subsequently unwilling to support that way forward.

“Our focus now is to test our legal advice and seek a resolution to this dispute through binding arbitration at ACAS.

“Our focus as a Cabinet is to resolve this dispute and to deliver clean streets, homes, jobs and opportunities for the people of Birmingham.”

Escalation

Unite has said its members would escalate their industrial action to full strike action unless the council reversed its decision.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “We had been led to believe that we would be heading to the conciliation service Acas [today] (Wednesday 16 January) to discuss an offer from the council to resolve the dispute.

“Instead it appears that this council wants to stand by the outrageous and immoral payments made to those who did not take industrial action in 2017 at the expense of those who took action to protect terms and conditions.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett – “We would urge the council to rethink and start meaningfully engaging with Unite over an offer to resolve this dispute otherwise we will be forced to escalate our industrial action to strike action”

“We would urge the council to rethink and start meaningfully engaging with Unite over an offer to resolve this dispute otherwise we will be forced to escalate our industrial action to strike action.

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

BBC News has since reported the council has implemented a temporary fortnightly waste collection service while Unite members are only working contracted hours and returning to base for breaks.

It also reported the average calls to the council call centres about missed collections rose from 214 a day to 1, 030, since Unite started industrial action.


Read Similar

Fly-Tipping In England Has Reached “Epidemic Proportions”

Birmingham Waste Collection Contingency Plans Announced

Queen’s University Belfast Awarded £1 Million To Tackle Plastic Waste

Birmingham Refuse Workers To Take Industrial Action Over “Blacklisting Payments”

Viridor Urges Wider Industry Reporting Against UN Sustainability Goals

220 Hours Unpaid Work For Solihull Waste Dumper

Views expressed in the comments below are those of the users and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIWM.
CIWM reserves the right to remove or amend any comments submitted for posting with no explanation or reason being given.

  1. The ‘work to rule’ approach is a very old chestnut and actually a red herring. If crews have been clearing their sheets for a long time then suddenly are incapable due to a ‘work to rule’ its clear that the Management aren’t doing their job properly. In the old days ‘work to rule’ supporters used reasons such as ‘we don’t take our proper meal/tea breaks’ or ‘we cut corners’ – all baloney in these days when HSW is so strongly promoted by both the Unions and Employers.
    What actual qualifications does Cllr Mahmood have to be in charge of Cleansing services? He’s elected to represent the citizens of Birmingham, not to showboat to get favour with the Unions.
    In the old days (when politicians weren’t paid) all they were expected to do was approve policy and let the Officials get on with implementing it. Politicians should keep away from operational matters.
    Just goes to show that all the fancy titles dreamed up by CEs and HR Depts mean nothing when the Council can’t deliver a statutory service. After all getting your bins emptied is the one Council Service every home should enjoy every week (or fortnight!)

Got something to say about this story?