The optimism of 2 weeks ago on the picket line was replaced today by seething anger at the betrayal and the lies of the Labour Council and its leader Clancy. The ACAS website states that on 16 August “Birmingham City Council cabinet members have agreed in principle that the grade 3 posts will be maintained. Consequently there are no redundancy steps in place”. Unfortunately Clancy, technically the democratically elected council leader, gives way to the officers, paid up to 10 times the salary of a bin worker.
The bin workers are clear: the council has wasted money paying agency premiums for years on the zero hours contract grade 2 posts, and mismanaging the introduction of new equipment. They also see income generation possibilities in the recycling operation. Instead of pursuing these and additional ways of funding a safe effective service, Clancy has declared war on the union by reneging on a deal and calling Howard Beckett, Regional Secretary and Assistant General Secretary of Unite, a liar. This weakness of leadership by Clancy has led to “the grotesque chaos of a Labour Council – a Labour Council… handing out redundancy notices to its own workers” which are unlawful due to the fact that there was no redundancy process in place following 16th of August. The resolve amongst bin workers and their supporters to win this dispute has never been higher.
Sam Clemens, Unite Regional Committee (in personal capacity)