Around 300 members of Britain and Ireland’s largest union, Unite, who work for Birmingham city council’s waste refuse service are being balloted for strike action amid accusations of blacklisting over payments made to refuse workers who did not support last year’s long running bin dispute.

The ballot which closes on Friday 14 December raises the prospect of industrial action over the Christmas period. It comes after the council recently admitted that it had made payments worth several thousand pounds each to a group of refuse workers who did not take part in last year’s bin dispute.

Unite has also lodged claims with the Employment Tribunal, saying that the payments are tantamount to the blacklisting of workers who took part in the long running bin dispute.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “It is simply astounding. By making these secret payments Birmingham city council has effectively blacklisted Unite members for carrying out their legal right to defend their jobs last year.

“We have pressed the council to explain why it made these secret payments to workers who did not go on strike, but have so far been met with a wall of silence.

“As a result the council’s secrecy and what we believe as discriminatory behaviour has forced us to the point where we are pursuing legal action and now balloting for industrial action.

“The residents of Birmingham should be aware that the last thing Unite members want to do is disrupt bin collections over Christmas. We would urge the city council to come clean with our members and put a stop to its discriminatory blacklisting behaviour.”


For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 

  • Notes to editors:
    Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.