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Birmingham bin workers’ court win

The High Court ruled in favour of Birmingham bin workers in September and ordered Birmingham city council to withdraw redundancy notices it had served on 113 refuse workers amid a protracted dispute over job losses and pay cuts.

The shock redundancies came after Unite and the council agreed to an Acas deal with compromise on both sides – the council then reneged on the deal without warning, later prompting council leader John Clancy to resign.

Unite agreed to suspend industrial action until a full hearing which is expected in November and will determine if the council acted unlawfully. Bin workers were due to continue their industrial action of three

hours a day until late September when their existing mandate ran out, but have now been back in work since early October.

“This judgment will be a huge relief to Birmingham’s bin workers, who in just a matter of weeks were facing losing their job or pay cuts of up to £5,000 a year,” said Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett.

“The High Court ruling leaves

Birmingham council’s unfair and unjust plans in tatters. The council needs to reflect on how it got here and the misery it has inflicted on the people of Birmingham and its own bin workers.”

He called on Birmingham city council chief executive Stella Manzie to follow

Clancy and step down for her role in scuppering the Acas deal.

“[The High Court] ruling underlines that Unite will not shrink away from using all the tools at its disposal to defend its members and the services they deliver,” Beckett added.

“We urge the council to stop wasting further taxpayers’ money in defending its dishonourable actions and honour the Acas deal which offers compromise on all sides and will settle this dispute once and for all.”

The dispute is the result of plans by Birmingham council to drop the grade 3 bin loader role which would leave workers facing pay cuts of up to £5,000 to keep a job in the refuse service.

See page 34

‘Huge relief’ – Unite’s Birmingham bin workers relieved over High Court jobs judgement

5 uniteWORKS Autumn 2016

Mark Thomas

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