The leader of Birmingham City Council, John Clancy, has resigned after reneging on a deal to settle industrial action by the city’s refuse workers.
Unite called on the council’s interim chief executive, Stella Manzie, to step down as well, after she also tried to scupper the agreement – brokered by the conciliation service ACAS.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said, “Stella Manzie must follow in John Clancy’s footsteps and resign and the council honour the ACAS agreement it reached with Unite to settle this dispute.”
Meanwhile TUC Congress today (September 12) unanimously supported a Unite emergency motion which condemns Birmingham Council for backtracking on the settlement.
Unite refuse workers began strike action on June 30 after the council tried to force through cost cutting plans to sack 121 staff.
The strike was suspended on August 16 after ACAS announced that Birmingham City Council had agreed not to axe the grade three bin loader role.
The role is a permanent position with responsibility for overseeing the safety of other refuse staff, who are often agency workers on zero hour contracts.
On August 31, the council said it would continue with the redundancies and the strike resumed the next day.
At the time Clancy denied a deal with ACAS had been made, despite the cabinet authorising it.
Last week, Labour councillors said Clancy would face a no-confidence vote.
Clancy stepped down as Birmingham City Council leader on Monday, in response. He admitted making mistakes “for which he is sorry” and took “full responsibility” for the debacle.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett described Clancy’s resignation as “inevitable”.
He said interim chief executive Stella Manzie also needs to go because she tried to block the deal by raising “fictitious” concerns that low-paid council staff could take legal action over the refuse workers’ wages.
The call for Manzie’s resignation comes ahead of Thursday’s high court hearing in London where Unite will be seeking an injunction against the redundancy notices handed out to more than 100 of Birmingham’s refuse workers.
Beckett said, “Stella Manzie has twice blocked Unite lawyers meeting council lawyers to discuss the fictitious equal pay concerns she is using to scupper the agreement that Unite reached with the council at ACAS.
“John Clancy in his statement has made it clear this agreement was reached with the full knowledge of the cabinet.
“There is now a democratic deficit in Birmingham council. I would call upon Labour councillors to fill this democratic deficit and force Stella Manzie to allow the lawyers to meet to allay any concerns they may have on equal pay and to allow them to implement the ACAS deal.
“This is the minimum that the people of Birmingham deserve.”
Unite will be holding a rally in support of the bin workers – who are currently voting on whether to extend industrial action into the New Year – this Sunday (September 17) at 11am at Victoria Square, Birmingham.