A union is balloting Birmingham refuse workers for strike action as union officials accuse the council of blacklisting staff who took part in last year’s lengthy industrial action.
The action comes as the unite upon says Birmingham City Council has “admitted that it had made payments worth several thousand pounds each to a group of refuse workers who did not take part in last year’s bin dispute.”
The ballot, of 300 Unite members, closes on Friday 14th December, with the potential for strike action over the festive period.
The union has also lodged claims with the Employment Tribunal, saying that: “the payments are tantamount to the blacklisting of workers who took part in the long running bin dispute.”
Unite’s assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “It is simply astounding. By making these secret payments Birmingham city council has effectively blacklisted Unite members for carrying out their legal right to defend their jobs last year.
“We have pressed the council to explain why it made these secret payments to workers who did not go on strike, but have so far been met with a wall of silence.
“As a result the council’s secrecy and what we believe as discriminatory behaviour has forced us to the point where we are pursuing legal action and now balloting for industrial action.
“The residents of Birmingham should be aware that the last thing Unite members want to do is disrupt bin collections over Christmas. We would urge the city council to come clean with our members and put a stop to its discriminatory blacklisting behaviour.”
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson responded: “We are committed to delivering the best possible services for citizens as that is what they expect and we are continuing to work to improve waste collections.
“It is frustrating and surprising, just a few weeks after offering full support for the new operating model, that the leadership of Unite believe this course of action is necessary. We will continue to work with our dedicated staff on the ground and all Trades Unions to ensure that bins are collected when and how people expect them to be.”