Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26144

Posted on 19 September 2017 at 14:47 GMT

STOP PRESS!


Birmingham bin workers and supporters rally, photo by Dave Nellist

Birmingham bin workers and supporters rally, photo by Dave Nellist   (Click to enlarge)

Birmingham bin workers vote to continue action following rally

Clive Walder, Birmingham Central Socialist Party

Several hundred supporters, including a large contingent of bin workers, assembled on 17 September outside the very building in Birmingham where the decision to issue 113 redundancy notices and deprive some workers of up to 5,000 a year was made by the Labour council.

The rally was followed by the announcement that the bin workers have voted overwhelmingly to continue the strike with a 92% vote on a 72% turnout.

From the start there was a carnival atmosphere with a local band playing. In addition to local trade unionists there were workers from Gloucestershire, Mansfield, Greenwich Unite and a delegation of Southampton bin workers.

There were supporting speakers from civil servants' union PCS, the National Education Union, Bromley Unite who are battling against the complete privatisation of every council service, and the local Asian community.

Lee Barron, regional TUC secretary, also spoke, attacking the Labour council for issuing compulsory redundancy notices by parodying Neil Kinnock's attack on the socialist-led Liverpool council at the 1985 Labour Party conference.

Rob Williams, National Shop Stewards Network chair, added that Liverpool council never actually made anyone redundant.

Rob went on to explain that this strike is important to council workers across the country and that other councils will take encouragement if the bin workers lose.

He also said: "We want Labour councillors to stand up to the Tories, not act like them. If they do act like them, Jeremy Corbyn should immediately withdraw the Labour whip from them."

Rob Williams speaking, Birmingham bin workers and supporters rally, 17.9.17, photo by Dave Nellist

Rob Williams speaking, Birmingham bin workers and supporters rally, 17.9.17, photo by Dave Nellist   (Click to enlarge)

This dispute has now assumed national importance as shown by the appearance of Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, at the rally.

Len gave the support of the whole of Unite and promised that the solidarity of Unite members and others will ensure victory and that they will not stop the action until they have won.

He warned the council that Unite has a strike fund of 36 million, so the bin workers won't be starved back to work.

Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary, is responsible for the dispute and gave a powerful speech which included several references to the need for Stella Manzie, chief executive of Birmingham council and architect of the attack on the bin workers, to be sacked.

He lambasted her for the fact that she was cutting workers' pay by up to 5,000 a year while earning 180,000 a year herself.

Plus, she has previously more than doubled her salary by claiming massive expenses. He said that the attack on the bin workers isn't where the council will end, it is where they will start.

The council is now upping the stakes by threatening to stop pay completely if workers continue with their industrial action.

They clearly see this as a landmark dispute, and want this to be an example for other councils to follow. This is shaping up to be a long and bitter dispute.

The rally was a great way of bringing the supporters and bin workers together but wider action involving other council workers allied with solidarity from the whole Birmingham working class may be necessary for a successful conclusion.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 19 September 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: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What is Socialism?

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Care under Capitalism

Workers:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Bin workers:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleTUC supports Birmingham bin workers

Council:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Unite:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

Strike:

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

Council workers:

triangleSurveying Labour councillors - will they fight cuts?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

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