Tag Archive: Council

What a load of rubbish… Birmingham bin strike expected to resume over redundancy row

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Rubbish has been piling up on the streets of Alum Rock in Birmingham during the dispute between the council and Birmingham bin workers. Now they are expected to resume strike action after the city's council said it was issuing redundancy notices.

Now, residents confronting weeks of serve strikes have taken matters into their own hands by getting hold of their own lorry to dip up the waste.

Naveed Sadiq, from Muslim village organisation Bearded Broz, pronounced volunteers were using a tipper lorry owned by Balsall Heath Forum.

Other locals described seeing bags ripping with used nappies pier up on the street.

Pest controllers have warned the city could be overshot by a hulk disease of rats during and after the strike.

The seven-week strike action that saw mountains of waste pile up on streets was suspended on 16th August amid talks between Unite and the city council.

But the council reneged on a deal that saw the strike suspended and said a meeting due this week would not happen.

The Unite union described the move as a "deeply provocative act".

It said refuse workers were expected to resume industrial action and could walk out for three hours on a daily basis at 07:00, 10:30 and 13:00 BST.

The union warned industrial action "could extend until the new year".

Conciliation service Acas said on 16th August the council had accepted the workers' case and restored the jobs of grade three workers, who are responsible for safety at the back of refuse vehicles.

But a council report said the deal struck by Unite and the council was unaffordable.

The authority had said it was issuing redundancy notices to certain grade three workers "in order to protect its legal and financial position".

But alternative jobs at the same grade and salary elsewhere were available for those employees, it said.

Posters in support of the refuse workers have been spotted around Birmingham

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: "This is a deeply provocative act that drives a coach and horses through the agreement Unite reached with the council in good faith at the conciliation service Acas.

"It does a great disservice to the people of Birmingham and the city's refuse workers who now face being made redundant and losing their livelihoods or pay cuts of thousands of pounds."

The union urged the council to "come to its senses" and withdraw the redundancy notices to avoid disruption to services.

The council said it wished to continue ongoing discussions "with trades unions through Acas in parallel with seeking alternative jobs for the Grade 3s affected by redundancy".

Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, added: "We hope that, in view of the ongoing discussions with Acas, Unite will not take their workforce back out on strike but continue in discussions with us and the other unions."


“Oh no, Sir”: Bradford Council in disagreement with schools’ regulator

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ENQUIRY CALL: Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw

ENQUIRY CALL: Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw

Bradford Council has dismissed calls by Ofsted for special supervision of its city’s schools after receiving a damning report from the regulator.

It also said it was “disappointing” that Ofsted chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw “didn’t include the full facts in his speech” about actions that had been “endorsed and supported by Ofsted”.

In his fourth annual report, Sir Michael was particularly critical of Bradford where he said education standards were “low” for many years.

He called for a commission of inquiry to investigate why the city’s schools were “mired in mediocrity, failing generation after generation”.

Of 95,000 pupils in Bradford’s 200 schools, Sir Michael said that almost 40,000 were attending schools rated as “less than good” and 8,000 of these were in schools labelled as “inadequate”.

He has called for a commissioner to oversee education in the city similar to what happened in Birmingham after the Trojan Horse controversy.

AWARE: Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford’s Executive Member for Education, Skills and Culture

AWARE: Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford’s Executive Member for Education, Skills and Culture

Sir Michael said: “If children are poorly educated, they don’t go to university, they don’t get apprenticeships, they don't get jobs (and) educational underperformance leads directly to social alienation.”

The BBC quoted an unnamed Ofsted spokesperson as saying that this included the risk of radicalisation.

Sir Michael said improving the education standards was a matter of “collective action and political will”.

“What on earth have the political leaders been doing over the years in this major city?” he asked.

Bradford Council said they accepted and recognised the problems and now have measures in place to improve the performance in schools.

“We don't need another review about education in Bradford,” said Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Executive Member for Education, Skills and Culture.

“We had a full Ofsted inspection in June and we've also had an independent review by Professor David Woods just over a year ago.

“We know the issues, we have a plan, endorsed and supported by Ofsted, which we're implementing at pace.

“More talking and reviewing is not going to help, I want to focus on action, not words.

“If Ofsted want to offer more practical help then I would welcome their constructive support.”

The councillor expressed disappointment with certain omissions by Ofsted chief.

“Sir Michael in his speech made no reference to his own organisation’s recent report on Bradford which said we had made a ‘step change’ and that there was a real ‘cause for optimism’,” said Cllr Hinchcliffe.

“It is obviously therefore disappointing that he didn’t include the full facts in his speech.

“We have a no excuses culture in education in Bradford. We accept that in the past educational attainment has not been good enough but the improvement plan now in place is the right thing to do.

“We are moving to a school-led system using our outstanding schools and leaders in the district to support other schools whose performance is key to our success.

“We must relentlessly implement the improvement plan to make sure we achieve better outcomes for our children as quickly as possible.”


Faith Pact: Calderdale Council and faith communities sign covenant

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AGREEMENT: Representatives of Calderdale Council and faith communities in the borough

AGREEMENT: Representatives of Calderdale Council and faith communities in the borough

Calderdale Council has signed a covenant with local faith groups to establish a working relationship between the two.

The idea was introduced by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society in 2014.

Calderdale is one of the first local authorities in the country to adopt a Faith Covenant. The agreement sets out a number of commitments for the council to work with faith groups, including: building relationships and trust with all faith groups, particularly Calderdale Interfaith Council; encouraging faith groups and their members to be involved in the reshaping and redesign of local services and sharing training and learning opportunities with faith communities.

In return, Calderdale’s faith organisations pledged to actively work with the council on a number of their own commitments, which include seeking opportunities to bring communities together and taking part in consultations to help shape the delivery of services.

Calderdale Council said it had a good record of interfaith work, on a number of issues, including helping to maintain strong community relations.

The council said that the signing of the Faith Covenant formalised this relationship, and demonstrated their commitment to faith communities in the borough.

“I was delighted to be involved in the signing of the Calderdale Faith Covenant, which builds upon the partnership working arrangements already in place between the Council and local faith groups,” said leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift.

“Faith groups have an important role to play in their communities, and through this covenant we’ve been able to formally recognise our close working relationship, which is mutually beneficial.”


National recognition for community champion

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Habiban Zaman has been working with diverse communities, women and young people in a voluntary and professional capacity for over 25 years in Kirklees

Habiban Zaman has been working with diverse communities, women and young people in a voluntary and professional capacity for over 25 years in Kirklees

Kirklees engagement officer heads to the capital for prestigious award

A tireless volunteer from Kirklees has become the first person in the region to be awarded a prestigious British Community Award following a glamorous ceremony at the House of Lords.

Mother-of-two, Habiban Zaman, from Batley Carr, headed down to the capital earlier this month to receive her award for her work regarding integration and cohesion in the community.

Currently working as an engagement officer for Kirklees Council, the 49-year-old has been working with different community and women’s groups voluntarily for over 25 years.

Establishing her own support groups and working with organisations across the region,

On Friday 9th October, she received her coveted British Community Honours Award from Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and Serbia.

Speaking after the ‘exhausting day’ she said: “It was an amazing day which was made all the more special because it was inside the House of Lords.

“When I started volunteering I couldn’t have even imagined being in this kind of situation so it is a huge honour for myself and my family.

“Helping women and young people in these diverse communities has become a real passion of mine and it is more than just a job with the council. It is something I really enjoy doing.

“The whole day in London went so fast because it was so enjoyable and it meant a lot to me to have my family there for support.”

The British Community Honours Award is not the only title Habiban has received in recent years, with the community stalwart given the British Empire Medal during the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014.

Having helped thousands of women across the region, she says awards like these only make her more determined to continue, even if they are not the reason she carries out the work she does.

“I started volunteering in the local community around 27 years ago and have always worked from my heart,” she said.

“Looking back on my career so far it is very pleasing to see how far we have come as a community since I began.

“Today, people from all backgrounds, from mosque leaders to individuals on the street, trust me because they know that I only want what is best for this community and its people.

“I think I have changed perceptions through my work and am determined to continue doing so. Perhaps that is what I am most proud of.”

The British Community Honours Awards are a registered charity working to improve the welfare and inclusion of minority communities in mainstream British society, recognising individuals contributions to the cause.