Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/521/3786

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 February 2008

Council workers demand:

'No wage cuts! Fund equal pay'

Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008, photo S O

Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008, photo S O'Neill

"No pay cuts!" "Equal pay for women, now!" That's what Birmingham council workers will be saying as they strike for the second time on 26 February. Tens of thousands of members of GMB, Amicus, TGWU, UCATT and Unison struck on 5 February and hopes are that the action will be as effective and vibrant again.

Dave Griffiths, West Midlands Socialist Party

Council bosses continue to threaten workers, sending letters promising they will be sacked if they don't sign new contracts that will mean pay cuts for thousands and worse conditions for thousands more. The council is planning to impose the 'deal' on 31 March.

After years of failing to pay women equally, the council claims to be implementing 'single status' - equal pay - but instead they are stealing from some groups of workers - (usually women!) - to pay other groups.

No wonder 3,000 people have joined Unison alone as a result of the unions' fighting back against the council and government's attack.

The government? Yes, we know about the Tory/Liberal bullies at the Council House. But standing behind the policy of pay cuts and breaking up of national conditions of service stands the Labour government, who refuse to fund equal pay.

Tens of thousands of other local authority workers face similar attacks in the coming months, and this needs a strong response. Union organisers in Birmingham, through hundreds of meetings, have worked hard to unify the workforce to fight back.

Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008. Photo S O

Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008. Photo S O'Neill

From a situation where cooks blamed bin-workers' bonuses for their low pay, or street cleaners facing huge pay cuts blamed scandalously low-paid women carers, members have now been unified for this battle, despite many attempts by the employers to divide the workforce.

Organisers want a more combative approach from the trade union tops. But instead of widening the fight against these pay cutting plans, national unions will not even allow debate of these issues because of 'the threat of litigation'. But in the words of one local organiser: "If Birmingham branch had followed national union advice we'd have lost the dispute by now"!

As it is, Birmingham workers are fighting back, but like many around the country, they are being left to fight authority by authority against a national attack.

On 16 February, at a Birmingham trade union council rally to defend public services, firefighters' union leader Matt Wrack supported the workers and exposed the rottenness of the "boss class" assault on workers and services.

He said that 4,200 city bankers (yes, the ones who've helped to scupper the economy) got Christmas bonuses of over 1 million each, totalling more than the entire budget of the fire and rescue service.

Scandalously low-paid workers are forced to defend their pay while billionaires 'worth' 126 billion, paid tax at a rate of 0.2%.

"The government has worshipped the market for ten years. They have worshipped a monster, so they shouldn't be surprised when it's monstrous", he said.

Birmingham council workers, together with other such workers nationwide, need combative trade unions prepared to fight for them. And given that all establishment parties have tried to impose such rotten 'deals' and the local Evening Mail continues to side with the bosses, workers also need a political voice to speak up for their case and whose priority is millions of working people and their services, not the fat-cat billionaires.

The trade unions need to be acting on that issue as well.

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


In The Socialist 19 February 2008:

No wage cuts! Fund equal pay


Demonstration

Troops out of Iraq now!


Socialist Party news

Stop the witch-hunt: Defend the Sheridan 7

Prison officers fight Labour's strike ban

Battle for Shropshire schools goes on

Coventry protests at Widdecombe's attacks

Football: Top of the League for greed


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Northern Rock - Labour's reluctant nationalisation

1918-2008: Clause 4 and nine decades of workers' struggles

Record fall in home ownership


Socialist Party NHS campaign

London's health care under further attack

Private clinics fail

Hospitals "stacking" patients

Fighting back and building a demo

"Not making sufficient profit"


Socialist Students

Universities in crisis: Fees favour the rich

Exeter students fight privatisation

Nottingham defends democracy


International socialist news and analysis

Kosovan independence - a dangerous mirage?

Greece: Second general strike in two months

CWI school in Latin America


Socialist Party review

Science, Marxism and the big bang


Socialist Party workplace news

It's official - Unison launches witch-hunt on Socialist Party

Socialist gains in Unison branch elections

Collection cuts and bullying equals bin strike!

Victory for council street wardens


Workplace news in brief

Rail pension dispute

Union merger: OILC and RMT

Marching against single status

Solidarity with Pakistan workers


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Pay:

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

triangleArriva bus strikers stand firm

trianglePCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

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

Birmingham:

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleSocialist Students day of action demands free education

Women:

triangleFighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

triangleSocialist Party national women's meeting

Unions:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

Unison:

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

Trade unions:

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

Low-paid:

triangleMixed-fleet workers show strikes get results

Single status:

triangleDerby TAs to strike against pay cut

GMB:

triangleScotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

UCATT:

triangleLetter from blacklisted construction workers

TGWU:

trianglePoverty, repression and fightback on the docks

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

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