McCluskey puts the boot in as union seeks in­junc­tion

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

UNITE union chief Len McCluskey is set to join a rally in sup­port of Birm­ing­ham’s strik­ing bin­men in the city cen­tre this week­end.

The head of Bri­tain’s largest trade union will speak at the rally in Vic­to­ria Square on Sun­day.

It comes as the na­tional Trades Union Congress agreed a mo­tion con­demn­ing the Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil for back­track­ing on the deal struck with Unite and ar­bi­tra­tion ser­vice ACAS by for­mer coun­cil leader John Clancy last month.

The row sur­rounds 113 bin­men whose face ei­ther be­ing ei­ther down­graded with a loss of £4,000 a year, moved to an­other coun­cil de­part­ment or made re­dun­dant.

They were served with re­dun­dancy no­tices on Septem­ber 1, prompt- ing fur­ther strike ac­tion. Unite is seek­ing an in­junc­tion against the re­dun­dan­cies and go to the High Court on Thurs­day.

Bin­men are also be­ing bal­loted to ex­tend the dis­pute and strike ac­tion be­yond Septem­ber if nec­es­sary.

Unite’s as­sis­tant gen­eral sec­re­tary Howard Beck­ett, who has been lead­ing talks for the bin­men, put for­ward the mo­tion to the TUC which called for ACAS ne­go­ti­ated deals to be hon­oured by em­ploy­ers .

He blames coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Stella Manzie for pulling the plug on the Clancy deal and has re­peat- edly called for her to step down. He told the TUC con­fer­ence: “Stella Manzie is wed­ded to aus­ter­ity. She is a Tory. She is wed­ded to a course that will al­low her to fol­low th­ese cuts in grades with more cuts cross the coun­cil. “The strike will con­tinue be­cause our mem­bers have some­thing deep in­side that the likes of Stella Manzie will never have. They have a strength from each other. They know that ev­ery ‘X’ is a dag­ger to Manzie. “Unite’s call to all the Labour coun­cil­lors is ‘look deep in­side re­mem­ber why Labour mat­ters, be proud of your role, stand up for work­ers, pro­tect their wages, be brave, be true to our class’. I say to them take th­ese brave de­ci­sions for our class, hon­our the ACAS deal.”

The mo­tion passed by the TUC stated: “Congress records that the in­tegrity of ACAS must be re­spected by em­ploy­ers and agree­ments struck at ACAS must be con­sid­ered legally bind­ing.

“The dan­ger­ous prece­dent of em­ploy­ers be­ing able to break ACAS agree­ments would only lead to in­dus­trial ac­tion.”

The city coun­cil’s in­terim leader Ian Ward called on Mr Beck­ett to get around the ta­ble for proper talks and urged him to stop the ‘wholly in­ap­pro­pri­ate’ at­tacks on Ms Manzie.

> Len McCluskey

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