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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2007

Birmingham city council

Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors

"WE'VE GOT a grudge with councillor Rudge," was one of the slogans displayed on placards by several hundred angry Birmingham city council workers. They protested against the council's attempts to impose a 'single status' pay deal that threatens huge pay cuts (in some cases as much as 18,000 a year). Rudge is the Tory 'cabinet minister' for Human Resources and 'Equal Opportunities'

Clive Walder

In the Tories' and New Labour's Orwellian world a single status pay deal, supposed to deliver equal pay for men and women, can only be delivered by cutting thousands of women workers' pay.

Even those who gain on pay will lose on other allowances such as shift pay, weekend allowances and bonuses. Management will also try to cut holidays and extend working hours. The new pay structure is based on a private-sector model which would make council services more attractive to privateers.

Labour councillor Ian Ward opposed the Tory/LibDem attacks on pay, rightly accusing the LibDems of propping up Tory attacks.

He gave support to any industrial action the workers take but fell short of demanding the money from central government to fund single status in full with no pay cuts.

That was left to Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob who said that Gordon Brown could find money to bail out the dodgy bankers at Northern Rock but not to fund equal pay for council workers.

Much of the speech by John Hemming, Lib Dem MP for Birmingham Yardley (and still a city councillor!) was drowned out by boos and shouts of 'opportunist' and 'Tory' from workers. He said 'mistakes' had been made. This went down like a lead balloon with council workers.

Every time anyone mentioned 'strike' or 'industrial action', there was a huge round of applause.

An industrial action ballot seems inevitable and this could be one of the most important local disputes in many years. The Socialist Party's special Council Workers Bulletin was well received.

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In The Socialist 13 December 2007:


Scotland

Defend Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's witch-hunt

Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's vendetta

Tommy Sheridan perjury charge


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Warning: NHS cuts seriously damage your health

Manchester: Karen Reissmann sacked - and cuts still loom


Post Office dispute

Fight to save post offices


What we think

Interest rate cut will bring no reprieve

Charity begins at the bank

Every fiddle helps

Government's lying statistics


Global Warming

Thousands march against climate change


Socialist Party news and analysis

Sefton's first citizen "cheating the system"

Unite Cardiff schools campaigns

Your new police terror chief


Socialist Students

National Union of Students: Right wing force through undemocratic changes

Leicester students debate tuition fees


International socialist news and analysis

Beijing Olympics under a cloud

China: Mass protests erupt in Shenyang

Extraordinary tape destruction at CIA torture camp


Workplace news and analysis

DWP strike: Fighting the pay cuts

Birmingham city council: Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors

Action can beat Cadbury closure threat

Newham council sack Unison chair


 

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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

Council workers:

triangleSurveying Labour councillors - will they fight cuts?

triangleBin workers vote to continue action following rally

triangleBron Afon workers strike against 3,000 pay cut

triangleBin workers stand firm

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