The council member responsible for the city’s waste has today resigned after Birmingham City Council’s Labour cabinet reportedly decided to seek an injunction against ongoing industrial action by refuse workers.

Cllr Majid Mahmood resigned from his role as Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Waste and Recycling as the council’s course of action is at odds with his own beliefs.

Cllr Mahmood tweeted:

‘Secret payments’

300 refuse workers – members of the Unite union – are currently taking part in industrial action over ‘secret payments’ the council reportedly made to workers who were not involved in last year’s lengthy strike action.

97% of the workers voted to take action after the union accused the council of effectively ‘blacklisting’ workers who took part in the previous strike. An overtime ban and work to rule began just after Christmas, on 29th December.

And now Unite says the city’s Labour council is using ‘Tory anti-trade union laws’ to ‘attack it’s own workforce’, as it says the cabinet today decided to seek an injunction against the current action.

Strike threat

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

The union’s assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said:

“We had been led to believe that we would be heading to the conciliation service Acas tomorrow (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.

“Rather than recognising that the majority of the workforce has been blacklisted by the payments made and the need to give parity to its workforce, we have a Labour council doubling down in defending secret payments and shamefully looking to manipulate Conservative anti-trade union laws to punish its own workforce.

“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.”

‘I love this city’

Cllr Mahmood felt strongly enough to leave the cabinet post he took over last year from Lisa Trickett, rather than support the cabinets decision. He told Birmingham Live:

“I love this city and this is the best position I have ever held but I cannot in all conscience continue to support an approach I don’t believe in.”

‘Tough decisions’

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, 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.

“I thank Cllr Mahmood for his efforts over the last four years, but being in the Cabinet requires collective responsibility, respect for the respective roles of officers and members, and the courage to take tough decisions in the interests of those we serve.

“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. Despite huge cuts we are achieving tremendous things for the people of this city, with the newly announced £1.5bn Smithfield development bringing jobs and homes, and the Commonwealth Games transforming our world standing in 2022.”

Collections affected

Industrial action is currently affecting refuse collections, with residents reporting missed collections and no bulky waste collection service operating at present.

During the action, the council has stopped separating recyclable waste, which is currently being sent to landfill along with general household waste.

Refuse is being collected between 6am and 10pm seven days a week. Residents are advised to place their bins out for collection on their normal collection day and leave them our until they are collected. 

4 COMMENTS

  1. I read in the Birmingham Post that the rubbish collection might be a fortnightly thing while the strike is on!

    And it is also interesting to read that because of the dispute there is a good chance recycled rubbish will be mixed with ordinary rubbish at landfill. And yet when it suits the council (ie no strikes, just ordinary collections) a resident stands to be fined if she doesn’t put the right rubbish in the right bin!

    Cllr Ian Ward, waffles on about the £1.5bn Smithfield project and the Commonwealth Games in 2022, but neither will benefit the majority of people in this city; and will no doubt cost a fortune. (More so given that the council were £50m short to pay for the current Paradise redevelopment); so expect the same shortfall for the CG – which we will have to pay for no doubt.

    A rubbish situation from a rubbish council.

  2. Even a politically neutral person will feel that what is happening at Birmingham City Council is awful with the Labour leadership seeming incapable of running the city in a way that does justice to its citizens. Council debates are all about matters over which the Council has no control and do not touch on the issues which they should be dealing with to ensure the smooth running of the city.
    The move to fortnightly bin collections will be accompanied by a reduced effort by the council to clean up the streets so that even though it’s likely that there will be more rubbish blowing around there will be less time spent cleaning it up.
    Labour Councillor Brett O’Reilly, who was narrowly elected to represent Longbridge and West Heath last May, put out a pamphlet just before the election which clearly stated, “Our pledges to you … Labour will keep weekly bin collections! … We will fight to hold on to our public services, and guarantee to keep weekly collections”.
    Local people have the right to feel disappointed that this promise has been broken so soon after the election, though we’ve seen Councillor O’Reilly’s promises, such as the rebuilding of West Heath library, count for nothing in the past and to see the mayhem the Labour Council is causing in local services by provoking industrial action from key valuable workers.
    The chaos in Birmingham Council makes the Brexit shenanigans in Parliament look like a walk in the park.

  3. As we all now know the strike is basically on as there is a work to rule basis. This means there is going to be a lot of bins that now do not get emptied. This post is not aimed at pointing the finger at anyone, but I am gutted.

    Anyway, this just got me wandering where are the nearest recycle point to where I live, and can I actually use them. Im not the only person that lives about 1 mile from Bromsgrove tip and can’t, actually use it. Anyway, I got mooching around and found a website called recycle more which can be found here https://www.recycle-more.co.uk/household-zone basically you enter your post code, say what you want to recycle i.e. cans, paper etc and it will locate the nearest bank for you. Well as my post code is b45 the nearest place to come up is the car park at the CO-OP so that’s the co-op 182a New road Birmingham b459ja As for Sainsburys Northfield it’s still rammed

    Anyway, when you go to the Rubery one according to the website above all residential bins are supposed to be marked up as residents only so you can’t go wrong really. Anyway, maybe if others know of more recycling points for different things they could list them also list them so we can all benefit.

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