A top Labour politician is conducting a "work in" after losing his £30,000-a-year job as the manager of the Birmingham Association of Neighbourhood Forums.

Mick Rice is refusing to leave the BANF offices at Nechells even though his contract was terminated on August 31.

Two weeks ago the police were called in an attempt by the BANF management to evict Mr Rice.

But two officers left without taking action after Mr Rice said he would only go if ordered by a court to do so.

Mr Rice, a former cabinet member on Birmingham City Council and secretary of the Birmingham Trades Council, said he would remain at work until granted the right of an appeal against the termination of his contract.

Mr Rice said: "The Association of Neighbourhood Forums does not know what is going on because the management committee is doing things in secret."

He claims his dismissal was driven by his activities as a "whistleblower" when he attempted to raise issues about the probity of BANF - which has received about £200,000 in funding from the city council over the past year.

Mr Rice added: "I got back from holiday and came into work where I was told to go home. I said I have still got a contract until August 31 so I intend to stay.

"The next thing is they call the police. I was shaken to my roots.

"It did cause a certain frisson in the office. One woman member of staff got upset and had to go home."

BANF recently elected a new management committee, which is understood to be concerned at the lack of progress made by the organisation since Mr Rice took up his position just over a year ago.

The body is made up of 75 community groups and is expected to have increased power as the city council moves towards devolved decision-making. Representatives from each of the groups will meet next week to discuss Mr Rice's case.

Mr Rice claimed the management committee was out of its depth.

He said: "You have a management committee that is being manipulated. Some decent residents' heads have been turned by a little bit of power."

Transport and General Workers Union spokesman Jim Denham said: "Mick has been treated abominably."

Mr Denham pointed out that staff attempting to whistle-blow are entitled to submit an unfair dismissal claim even if they have not been employed for more than a year.

"We have a claim and the liability is unlimited," Mr Denham added.

BANF acting chairman Zhor Malik said Mr Rice would be granted an appeal.

"We will be writing to him with a date within the next couple of days.

"I cannot comment any further while the appeal process is pending," Mr Malik said.

City councillor and Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming has offered to act as an intermediary in an attempt to resolve the row.

Mr Hemming (Lib Dem) said: "We need to see if there is a way around this without everyone falling out."