Bins Manager faced ‘Discrimination’ from Birmingham City Council

There are inquiry calls into alleged “institutional racism” at Birmingham City Council after a bins worker was subjected to discrimination.

Bins Manager faced Discrimination from Birmingham City Council f

"exposes the workings of institutional racism"

Birmingham City Council is facing allegations of institutional racism after a tribunal judge found that a bins depot manager was subjected to harassment and discrimination on race grounds by his own bosses.

Senior figures at Birmingham City Council were condemned by employment tribunal Judge David Maxwell for “not being truthful” over the events that led to the suspension of Mazar Dad.

He has worked for the council for over 30 years.

Mr Dad, a manager at the Redfern waste depot in Tyseley, had disciplined an “insubordinate” binman who persistently refused to sign for protective gear, as demanded by council policy.

He was initially backed by his city council bosses.

But when the incident triggered a union-led protest, Mr Dad was turned on and faced a misconduct inquiry.

The tribunal found he was treated unfairly in a bid to appease Unite representatives and stop industrial action.

Judge Maxwell said Mr Dad was all but abandoned by bosses.

He also ruled that the way Mr Dad was treated in the case amounted to racial discrimination and harassment.

Mr Dad was one of three managers disciplined but was the most severely punished, having been suspended for 18 months.

Judge Maxwell identified key witnesses Rob James, former City Operations director at the council, and Darren Share, assistant director for street scene/parks, as “not impressive” in giving evidence, with both found by him to have said things they must have known were not true.

The council “went to great lengths to appease Unite representatives or members… to reduce the risk or bring to an end industrial unrest”.

Members of the Birmingham Race Impact Group (BRIG) are now demanding a full investigation into the issues uncovered.

They say they have been contacted by “dozens” of council employees who were appalled at the findings.

Jagwant Johal, of BRIG, said the group has also called for a full investigation into the individual officers identified in the case.

Mr Johal said current staff and councillors have praised Mr Dad’s bravery in taking on the council, at great personal cost.

However, he said there were questions to answer about whether political influence was brought to bear on officers to appease unions at all costs, why the case – dating back to 2018 – had dragged on so long, and whether any employees had faced investigations about the findings.

Mr Johal said: “The findings and reserved judgement make for shocking and horrific reading.

“It not only highlights the suffering and psychological trauma endured by Maz Dad since 2016 for simply doing his job, but exposes the workings of institutional racism at Europe’s largest municipal authority.”

BRIG has written to Birmingham City Council’s leader John Cotton to press for a judge-led inquiry in a bid to find out the extent of the problems touched on by the case, including racism, bullying and intimidation inside the waste service.

Mr Johal continued: “Just as the Leader has called for a judge-led inquiry into the council’s bankruptcy, BRIG are calling on the Leader to hold a judge-led inquiry into Maz’s case and the culture of fear amongst global majority employees, and some of his own party councillors, to openly raise issues of racism they are experiencing.

“There is no point having a robust policy framework to address racism at the council when the employees have no faith getting justice and fairness given what Maz has demonstrated by winning his case.

“A loyal high performing employee of over 30 years’ service, was hung out to dry.

“We need to at least start an honest conversation with staff and the community.

“Maz Dad’s case is a clear illustration of how a culture of institutional racism is allowed to persist… institutional racism exists through the embedded structures, policies, procedures, practices, and the biases of those that operate and oversee these institutional elements.

“Unfortunately, we can expect little progress until these institutions acknowledge the existence of institutional racism and how it operates in their organisation.

“It is not a simple matter of revamping polices – it requires an ongoing change of culture and serious accountability to the global majority communities they serve and employees in their organisations.”

Mr Dad had represented himself after his case did not meet a threshold for representation set by his union Unison.

Mr Johal added: “That was an ordeal in itself – he was up against costly barristers hired by the council, making this a truly historic ‘David and Goliath’ outcome.”

In a statement, Unison West Midlands regional secretary Ravi Subramanian said:

“Anyone reading about this case will be appalled by the way our member Maz Dad was treated.

“It was a clear case of race discrimination that has left Mr Dad devastated.”

“What makes it worse is that the council thought they could defend this appalling behaviour.

“Unison have written to the council’s political and executive leadership asking how the council will hold to account the people who discriminated against Mr Dad, and what will be done to address the systemic racism in the department identified in this case.”

Birmingham City Council previously said it would see if there were lessons to be learned from the case as it considered its next steps.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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