Unite response to GMB statement on Birmingham bin strike
- Thursday 21 February 2019
The statement issued today (Thursday 21 February ) by Joe Morgan (GMB regional secretary for Birmingham and West Midlands) on behalf of the GMB is full of inaccuracies, first made by the council and, sadly, now repeated by the GMB. It is inaccurate for the following reasons:
1. Unite did not and could not control who Birmingham council officers talked to in 2017 and, indeed, the council officers and GMB were in regular contact with each other throughout the 2017 dispute.
2. The GMB decided not to ballot its members in 2017 and had accepted the terms offered by the council which would have seen bin workers lose up to £5,000 a year.
3. As a result of the actions of Unite members, GMB members had their jobs, terms and conditions protected and did not suffer the losses in pay the GMB had accepted.
4. The GMB regionally, through their officer, and the council then agreed a payment to these workers who did not go on strike. The reality is that those who did not strike and had no losses received a payment that was intended to always remain secret.
5. The payment was not made to the GMB, but through the council’s own payroll directly to those who had not gone on strike.
6. The payments were so secret that even the former Birmingham council cabinet member for waste was not told of them.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “Unite will not allow Birmingham city council which created this dispute to use ‘divide and rule’ tactics to undermine our dispute.
“Such statements will not divert Unite from its primary focus of securing justice for our members and a fair resolution to our dispute.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.