Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25988

Posted on 17 August 2017 at 10:14 GMT

Birmingham bin workers - fighting back wins!

Victory for standing together and union organisation - but issues remain to be resolved

Socialist Party and PCS union activist Bill Murray presented a strike fund donation from the Socialist Party meeting to bin workers' rep Richard on the picket line at Tyseley today.   Very soon afterwards news reached the strikers that the action was susp

Socialist Party and PCS union activist Bill Murray presented a strike fund donation from the Socialist Party meeting to bin workers' rep Richard on the picket line at Tyseley today. Very soon afterwards news reached the strikers that the action was susp   (Click to enlarge)

Birmingham Socialist Party members

Following magnificent seven weeks of action by Brum's bin workers - members of Unite the Union - with high turnouts at picket lines, the increasingly determined workforce has forced a management retreat.

The strike has been suspended pending talks around other issues after the council gave up their attack on Grade 3 workers. It represents a defeat for bosses. A suspended union rep has also been reinstated.

Scandalously, the Labour council tried to make bin workers pay for the council's own gross mismanagement over the years and attacked, intimidated, lied about and tried to turn the public against them.

Little wonder most bin workers don't trust the councillors - who were backed up by the TV and press. Councillors used the language of Thatcher to claim bin workers were 'holding our city to ransom'. But who was holding who to ransom? The council demanding a 25% pay cut or lose your job, that's who!

They spent over 2million trying to organise a scab army to break the workers' dispute when it would have only cost 330,000 to settle the Grade 3 issue.

They implied "other services" were being put at risk by the strike. Yet the only threat to services in Birmingham is the council that is voting to cut them!

Clearly they are New Labour not Corbyn's Labour. They even lied by claiming they had gone to conciliation service Acas when in fact it was the union pushing for that for weeks.

The public's refusal to turn on the bin workers surprised the council and media. Most Birmingham people now have direct experience of the constant attacks, cuts and speed ups that modern management use. So their sympathy was with the bin workers. They too have had enough.

A union that fights for its members wins support. Over 60 new members in waste have been recruited to Unite during the dispute.

Other issues

Some issues, like work patterns, are yet to be hammered out.One Lifford lane worker said that their priority in any negotiations were to get rid of a manager who bullied a street cleaner wagon driver in front of the pickets, to keep the Grade 3 jobs and stop the 4,000 to 5,000 a year pay cut.

We must seek to get all agency workers, many who supported the strike, on permanent contracts. One said: "I'm on the agency contract, we get 8.50 an hour. The public think we get great money. Its hard work out in the rain and cold, I'd like to see the councillors do a shift."

Birmingham council claimed they wanted to "modernise the service in line with best national practice". That meant moving from a four to a five day service in Birmingham. Funny, they're modernising the Doncaster service from five to four day working!

It's any old excuse as the same old failed managers and same old failed policies are recirculated around the country. But there's one common factor - the workers pay for it with fewer jobs, low pay and more sweated hours.

Council

Birmingham council has attacked workers, blamed them, used scabs and bullying. They can't be trusted - they could be back for more. The Labour Party here isn't fit for purpose and must be changed. One lad spoke for many: "I'm Labour, I've voted Labour all my life, but never again, not after this." The Blairites must go.

South East Birmingham Socialist Party members took 100 that was collected at their recent public meeting to the Tyseley picket line. Presenting it, Bill Murray said: "Bin workers have drawn a line in the sand that enough is enough. No more attacks on workers to make them pay for a problem they have not created."

A clear warning has been sent to government, councils and profiteers who demand ever more cuts to jobs and pay to bail out bankers - expecting workers to live on 'chocolate buttons' - we've had enough.

A bin worker said: "I know this sounds mad but I love my job. I've been here 16 years. Don't get me wrong I don't enjoy getting up at five, working in all weather, but it's the team, they're such great lads." The bin workers are, and they deserve what looks like a victory. They have struck a blow for all workers in this city. What bosses wanted to enforce on them, they would have tried to enforce across the council and ultimately it would had an effect on all employment in Birmingham.

As negotiations continue, the workers' watchword will be "vigilance".


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 August 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What is Socialism?

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Care under Capitalism

triangleBin workers vote to continue action following rally

triangleTUC supports Birmingham bin workers

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What is socialism?

Workers:

triangleDeal concludes Barts health strike - "We have raised our heads high"

triangleTUC congress 2017: time for action on pay

triangleTories retreat on pay cap

triangleNSSN lobby of the TUC 2017: rank-and-file solidarity to smash the pay cap

Bin workers:

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

triangleBack the Brum bin strikers!

triangleBin workers say: Sack Suez, stop rubbish cuts!

Council:

triangleBristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!

triangleLandlord licensing under threat - fight back

Labour:

triangleReadmit the socialists - for a federal Labour Party

Councillors:

triangleMerseyrail strike over safety: Labour mayor and councillors must reverse their decision

Socialist Party:

triangleCaerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: How can Corbyn win?

Doncaster:

triangleCampaigners fight second Yorkshire Women's Aid closure in two years

Waste:

triangleNHS: fight for funding - not passport checks

Labour Party:

triangleBarts strike - 'Up the ante' if necessary

Agency workers:

triangleStreet cleaners support the Birmingham bin strike

Government:

triangleNurses express fury at the holding down of pay

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/9/17

East London

Deal concludes Barts health strike - "We have raised our heads high"

19/9/17

Birmingham

Bin workers vote to continue action following rally

13/9/17

Bristol

Thousands march - mayor needs real anti-cuts strategy

13/9/17

Russian revolution

Trotsky's "insightful and frank examination" of revolution out soon

13/9/17

Mansfield

Boost to Chatsworth NHS campaign

13/9/17

Students

Kick out the Tories, fight for free education!

13/9/17

McDonalds

McStriker addresses Greenwich trade unionists

13/9/17

CWU

CWU members prepare for industrial action at Royal Mail

13/9/17

Bus workers

Bus safety: we won't be distracted from public ownership

13/9/17

Greater Manchester

Young Socialists launched in Greater Manchester

12/9/17

Bin workers

TUC supports Birmingham bin workers

11/9/17

East London

Barts strike - 'Up the ante' if necessary

11/9/17

Socialism

New leaflet for Socialism 2017

10/9/17

RCN

Nurses express fury at the holding down of pay

8/9/17

London

Union victory at the Bank of England

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Sep Deal concludes Barts health strike - 'We have raised our heads high'

triangle19 Sep Bin workers vote to continue action following rally

triangle13 Sep Thousands march - mayor needs real anti-cuts strategy

triangle13 Sep Readmit the socialists - for a federal Labour Party

triangle13 Sep Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

triangle13 Sep Kick out the Tories, fight for free education!

triangle12 Sep Tories retreat on pay cap

More ...

triangle19 Sep Manchester Socialist Party: The Rohingya refugee crisis

triangle19 Sep Birmingham South East Socialist Party: What is socialism?

triangle20 Sep Salford Socialist Party: The 1871 Paris Commune

triangle20 Sep Cardiff West Socialist Party: The legacy of slavery

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2