Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/652/10880
Birmingham bin workers fight back
On 20 December a determined body of 30 bin workers beefed up the picket at the Holford Drive, Perry Barr, depot. All eyes are on the Con-Dem controlled council, where 26,000 workers are threatened with the sack unless they accept new contracts. The immediate issue, amongst other attacks, is that the bin workers stand to lose £4,000 a year. For many this can mean losing their homes.
A Unite rep spoke to Joe Foster, a Socialist Party and PCS member.
"Unison, GMB, Ucatt and Unite are in dispute with the council. There has been an overtime ban and work to rule since 17 December. Unite voted 94% for action short of a strike and 74% for strike action. This stems from a previous deal on single status - trying to use this to downgrade bin workers' pay instead of upgrading low-paid women workers.
"Additionally the council want to cut the number of drivers by 40 and reduce teams from five to four. They also want to end 'task and finish' whereby you can go home when the job is done. They also want Christmas Day and other bank holidays to be normal working days without enhanced pay.
"The strike is solid and no agency staff are working. But the council have recruited 200 workers directly from Jobcentres. Apart from the threat to our jobs, this is a danger to themselves and the public. We think the council want to hand over the workforce to a private company, after worsening our pay and conditions."
In The Socialist 5 January 2011:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party review