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GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region

GMB support for shop steward suspended

Friday, June 6, 2014

At no time has the council ever spoken to shop steward about the many times he has talked to the press it is only now when a public row has erupted over the collection of green waste that they are taking this action says GMB 

GMB, the union for public sector workers, is consulting with members on how best to support a GMB trade union representative suspended last month by Birmingham City Council over allegedly informing the press about the council’s intentions over green waste across the city. 

GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region representative Paul Langley who works at the city’s recycling depot has been suspended until further notice.  GMB has been in talks with the council and haven't got anywhere. GMB is consulting with members on what action to take in support their colleague. 

Gillian Whittaker, GMB Organiser, said “The row over bin collections has dominated the press across Birmingham in the run up to local elections when the council stopped free garden waste collections and introduced a charge of £35 back in February.  

The council’s intentions were to charge for collection of all green waste from Birmingham, this has led to bin bags and rubbish being dumped on the streets.  The council decided to put fleet and waste operatives on overtime to clear the streets over the weekend in the run up to the election.  This obviously caused an embarrassment for the council in the run up to the local elections when the information became public. 

It is absolutely disgusting that the council has decided to take action against a union representative who felt that the public needed to know what the authority was expecting of its employees.   

Mr Langley has been a representative for the GMB for six years and in that time he has given numerous press interviews regarding the situation within fleet and waste.  At no time has the council ever spoken to Mr Langley about his appearances in the press, it is only now when a public row has erupted over the collection of green waste that they are taking this action.  I believe this suspension is politically motivated.  The council are looking for someone to blame over the fiasco within fleet and waste and they have targeted Mr Langley in order to make him a scapegoat. 

No other trade union representative have ever been suspended or disciplined as a result of talking to the press and if the council continue down this path then the GMB will be discussing with the other unions what action we may need to take. 

If disciplinary action is taken then this could lead to the dismissal of the representative who has worked for the council for over twenty years. GMB will not stand idly by. That is why GMB is consulting with members on what action to take in support their colleague.” 

End

Contact Gillian Whittaker on 07850 768351 or Joe Morgan 07794 247960 or Samantha Jones on 07939 874272 or 0121 550 4888

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