Birmingham refuse collectors plan fresh action in pay dispute
Unite claims workers who did not take part in last summer’s walkouts were given extra payments by the council.
Refuse collectors who took part in a three-month strike last summer are to stage fresh industrial action in a new row over pay.
Members of Unite at Birmingham City Council voted by 9-1 for action and will start an overtime ban and work-to-rule from December 29.
Unite said workers who did not take part in last year’s strikes have been given extra payments by the council.
The work-to-rule is designed to be proportionate and to allow the council time to do the right thing Unite
Assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This is an overwhelming ballot result that shows our refuse collection members are not prepared to be discriminated against, compared with another group of workers who received thousands of pounds for not taking part in last year’s dispute.
“The individuals who took the decision to make such payments must be accountable to the public.
“This was blatant blacklisting – an attempt by the council to prefer workers in a union that did not take industrial action.
“We are seeking a working environment where equality and non-discrimination are key pillars of the council’s working practices.
“The work-to-rule is designed to be proportionate and to allow the council time to do the right thing. It will be disruptive, but the council should listen to the message from their workforce and take immediate remedial action.
“How the council responds will dictate whether this dispute escalates or is resolved.”
Birmingham city council's actions were blatant blacklisting. It's time this Labour council stopped discriminating against workers for their choice of trade union or for taking lawful industrial action #BirminghamBinStrikehttps://t.co/5hOB5ZZo1I— Len McCluskey (@LenMcCluskey) December 14, 2018
Councillor Majid Mahmood, cabinet member for clean streets, waste and recycling, said: “The people of Birmingham want us to reach a swift resolution and our request to Unite is to suspend industrial action while we take this dispute into Acas.”
Unite’s Howard Beckett responded: “If Birmingham council is serious about resolving this dispute at Acas then they should not attach any preconditions.
“Birmingham council has had months to resolve this dispute and have failed to do so. It has hidden this payment for a year without coming to us. The council had weeks since we found out to come to us, it had notice of the industrial action ballot two weeks ago and there are two weeks until industrial action starts. The council has had plenty of time to resolve this matter.”