The judge was today asked to rule in what he has described as an ‘unusual’ and ‘very remarkable case’ resulting from an ‘internal rift within the council.’
Councillor Robert Alden, Leader of the Conservative Group on Birmingham City Council said “What is clear from today’s ruling is that the dysfunction of this Labour run Council and a wider conflict within the Labour movement in the City has heaped unnecessary misery on residents at considerable cost to the taxpayer. Essentially the Judge was asked to decide between Unite’s argument that the Council acted in bad faith and reneged on a binding agreement or the Council’s own argument that remarkably seemed to rest on the fact that is was too incompetent and divided to make a decision that it could be held to. Whilst anyone connected with Birmingham would fully recognise this picture of the Labour run Council, the Judge’s view was that however shambolic their processes had been, the result was a decision which - in law - could be construed as a binding deal to keep the Leading Hand roles; a deal that the Council has been clear it cannot afford.”
The case will now go to a full trial where that legal argument will be tested further, protracting a conclusion to the chaos Birmingham residents have had to endure for over 80 days already.
Councillor Deirdre Alden, Shadow Cabinet Member for Clean Streets said “What residents really want to know is when they will see a return to a regular and reliable waste collection service and not the technical and legal arguments around what is and is not a decision or a deal. Unfortunately, these arguments and the resulting legal proceedings take us further away from a resolution, and rack up costs that will inevitably result in cuts having to be made elsewhere to services residents pay for through their council tax.”
Councillor Robert Alden added “Officers have already warned that if the ‘decision’ made by the former Labour Leader and his Cabinet is carried through – which, due to the council’s ineptitude the courts may now force to happen - it could have devastating consequences on the City’s finances. If these predictions are born out, the cost of this dispute, and Labour’s legacy to Birmingham, will be measured not just in the fall from power of the former leader, or even in disgrace of the weeks and months of uncollected rubbish, but in the bankruptcy of this City. As the Judge himself said ‘neither party comes out of this sorry saga with any credit at all’, sadly whilst their reputations may take a hit it will be Birmingham residents, and potentially their children and grandchildren who will really pay the price”