Birmingham & Black Country

Former Birmingham council leader criticised over bin strike

Bin bags piled up
Image caption Thousands of tonnes of waste were left on Birmingham's streets in 2017

Birmingham City Council's former leader acted "beyond his authority," during a three month bin strike in 2017, a report has found.

John Clancy "did not have approval from cabinet" to make agreements with Unite over redundancies, the report said.

Mr Clancy has branded the findings "utter nonsense from start to finish."

Birmingham City Council said they had now "made decision-making more robust." Another bin strike is due to take place over Christmas.

The "lessons learned" governance report was carried out for the council by external law firm VWV.

It found Mr Clancy went to arbitration service Acas in August 2017 and purported to reach an agreement with Unite.

A deal to suspend industrial action was put in place. It was agreed there would be no redundancy steps for bin workers, however notices of redundancy were subsequently issued by the city council and workers went back on strike.

The report concludes: "Cllr Clancy did not have the authority by himself to make the agreement of 15th August with Unite that was contained in the Acas press release.

"Cllr Clancy did not have the prior authority of Cabinet to make that agreement."

Mr Clancy resigned following criticism of his handling of industrial action by refuse workers.

But on Thursday he took to Twitter to claim the report "is a whitewash designed to cover the backs of senior officers who behaved appallingly."

Image caption John Clancy said he accepted he had made mistakes

Robert Connelly, the deputy monitoring officer for the council, said: "We are absolutely committed to learning from what happened during the summer of 2017 and we have already put a range of measures in place to make our governance and decision making more robust.

Earlier this month bin workers decided they will take industrial action over Christmas in the latest twist of the saga.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A ballot on whether to strike is set to run for two weeks

The 2017 industrial action began when the council's bid to "modernise" the service - to save £5m a year - threatened more than 100 jobs.

A new shift pattern was brought in for workers earlier this year as part of an agreement made to end the dispute.

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