Birmingham City Council’s union relations are ‘worst in the country’ claims GMB

Relations between staff representatives and Birmingham City Council are the “worst in the country”, the GMB union has claimed.

The strained relations have been created following a successful equal pay claim last month by about 4,000 female Birmingham City Council staff.

The GMB, which represents 8,000 staff at the council, has called on the council’s bosses to stop stalling and start negotiating payouts, but the council said the union’s claims were neither true nor justified.

The local authority has until 16 June to decide whether to appeal against the tribunal ruling on equal pay, which centred on the council’s old bonus structure. The tribunal ruled bonus payments to men were discriminatory, and allowed male employees to earn more than £50,000 a year.

Brian Strutton, national secretary of the GMB union, told the BBC: “Industrial relations there are the worst in the country.

“I see things up and down the country and there are problems all over, but I have to put them at the top of the list.

“It’s down to a culmination of things. You can deal with the most difficult economic times and take the workforce with you, or you can bully and not take them with you, and Birmingham took the latter route.

“They’ve used obstructive moves, they have delayed things when they know they have got to pay this money.”

But councillor Alan Rudge, cabinet member for equalities and HR, said: “This statement is not true, nor is there any justification, and I am disappointed by the comments.

“We have always and will continue to engage with our trades unions as we have done to date.”

Rudge added the “inappropriate bonus schemes” were removed in 2007.

Personnel Today previously reported that council bonus schemes may now face tougher scrutiny following the Birmingham City Council equal pay claim.

In February, the council said up to 2,000 jobs could be axed during the next financial year as it tried to make savings of up to £69m.

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