Birmingham Labour MP’s Send Letter Criticising Council Over Bin Fiasco

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The nine Labour MP’s of Birmingham sent a letter addressed to council leader John Clancy in which they said that the council was acting as an “obstacle” in negotiations.

The letter said that the authority was “refusing to answer straight questions on equal pay” and said that a deal was needed “as a matter of urgency”, describing the delays in doing so as “unacceptable”.

Jack Dromey, Preet Gill, Khalid Mahmood, Jess Phillips, Steve McCabe, Shabana Mahmood, Richard Burden, Roger Godsiff and Liam Byrne are the MP’s who signed the letter.

They also said that the decision to exclude independent ACAS negotiators from future talks was “inexplicable”.

Refuse workers returned to picket lines last Friday after the council, according to Union, backed out of an agreed deal.

Mr Clancy denies any agreement was made.

The letter by the MP’s reads,

“Bin workers deserve justice on pay but so too do the citizens of Birmingham deserve clean streets when they leave their houses in the morning

“Three weeks ago, under the auspices of ACAS, agreement was reached whereby industrial action was suspended and a way forward identified to find a lasting settlement. Key to the making of progress was the establishment of a common understanding on whether or not there are equal pay issues and if so on what scale.

“Last week it was hoped that the meeting on establishing a common understanding on the equal pay issues would take place in time for negotiations to resume last Thursday 31st August. Then, out of the blue, the Chief Executive of the council, Stella Manzie wrote to the unions serving redundancy notices.

“It was extraordinary that in her letter she actually said ‘I know that you will be surprised that this given the nature of the discussions Angela Probert and Jacqui Kennedy have been having with you this week’.”

“That led to a resumption of industrial action but within 24 hours upon our request ACAS identified a process to take place this week, initially of lawyers establishing whether or not there is a common understanding on the equal pay issues and then, hopefully, resumed negotiations today, Thursday.

“The Council then wrote yesterday, Wednesday, delaying that meeting until 11th September. The delay to talks to settle this dispute is unacceptable. So too is the apparent refusal by the Council to answer straight questions on equal pay. Further, the proposal to exclude ACAS from the next stage discussions is inexplicable given that ACAS has offered to provide an independent third-party by way of an equal pay expert to help reach that common understanding.

“Our City now runs the risk of the dispute dragging on for weeks and months to come. That cannot be right.

“All parties need as a matter of urgency to focus on the reaching of an agreement which is just and which ensures the provision of that high-quality service that the people of Birmingham are entitled to.

“Those necessary negotiations under your auspices and that of the Cabinet will need to involve the appropriate Officers of the Council so that all outstanding issues can be resolved. But we have to say that right now the Council is an obstacle to moving forward to secure that agreement and an end to the dispute.”

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