Socialist Worker

Birmingham bin workers shouldn’t take any rubbish from council during pause

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2573

Birmingham bin workers on the last day of their strike

Birmingham bin workers on the last day of their strike (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Birmingham bin workers suspended their programme of industrial action after the High Court ruled against council bosses last week.

The High Court’s injunction means that the Labour-run council cannot push through 106 redundancies until a full hearing in November.

The cuts had been due to go through on Wednesday of next week.

A summer of walkouts by Unite union members had forced the council to sign up to an agreement at government conciliation service Acas.

Shortly afterwards it went back on the deal—and issued the redundancy notices.

Richard, a Unite union member, told Socialist Worker, “The council now has a choice—stick to the Acas agreement or it can come back to a full trial.

“By no means do we feel that the fight is over, but this is a big step.” Part of the judge’s ruling in favour of the union included suspending the action.

If the strikes had continued the pressure could have broken the council’s assault.

The strike had caused a political crisis for the council.

Council leader John Clancy has resigned and pressure was mounting on chief executive Stella Manzie.

The bosses have shown themselves intent on pushing through the attacks—and will try to use the pause to break momentum.

Richard said, “Some were reluctant to leave the picket lines, but saw the significance of the judge’s decision.

“The judge wanted to make sure the union wouldn’t have its cake and eat it.”

Workers will need to keep organised in the runup to the full hearing and be ready to walk out again.

As Richard said, “The fight is not over, the fight will continue, our guys will be back out if they need be.”


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