The Socialist

The Socialist 20 September 2017

Fight tuition fees

The Socialist issue 963

Fight tuition fees

Why do young people need socialism?


Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"

The Socialist Inbox


Labour conference: Corbyn's support must be used to defeat Blairites


Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis


Grenfell inquiry begins: not sufficient, not trusted

Strike to save our NHS!

Fight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

Defuse the consumer debt time bomb: nationalise the banks!


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

Bin workers vote to continue action following rally

CWU strike ballot - why I'm voting Yes

Fight university's 'sackers' charter'

McStrike solidarity event

London Buses safety campaign


Protest to pressure Labour to scrap Haringey redevelopment plans

Fight for an alternative to the misery of capitalism

Tragic death highlights Chatsworth ward closure risk

East London summit fails to address housing crisis

Interest at Nottingham Green festival

 
 
 
 
 

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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.


In this issue


Socialist Students

Fight tuition fees

Why do young people need socialism?


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"

The Socialist Inbox


What we think

Labour conference: Corbyn's support must be used to defeat Blairites


International socialist news and analysis

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis


Socialist Party news and analysis

Grenfell inquiry begins: not sufficient, not trusted

Strike to save our NHS!

Fight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

Defuse the consumer debt time bomb: nationalise the banks!


Workplace news and analysis

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

Bin workers vote to continue action following rally

CWU strike ballot - why I'm voting Yes

Fight university's 'sackers' charter'

McStrike solidarity event

London Buses safety campaign


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Protest to pressure Labour to scrap Haringey redevelopment plans

Fight for an alternative to the misery of capitalism

Tragic death highlights Chatsworth ward closure risk

East London summit fails to address housing crisis

Interest at Nottingham Green festival


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 September 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

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