Clive Walder, Birmingham South Socialist Party
50 angry members of Unison, Unite and GMB – the trade unions representing council workers – demonstrated outside a meeting of Birmingham City Council on 12 September. They sent a loud and clear message that they won’t pay for the council’s mismanagement with their jobs or working conditions.
The council is blaming accumulated equal pay claims for women workers for the financial shortfall, which led to the council declaring itself bankrupt. They fail to mention the £200 million it spent on the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the £100 million wasted on an IT system they were told wouldn’t work, or the major reason – the Tory government’s brutal austerity.
The council is desperately trying to persuade workers to apply for redundancy, rather than use any of the council’s £688 million reserves, or their borrowing powers, to make no cuts and buy time to campaign to demand the funding from central government.
The council is refusing to share the detail of its ‘mutually-agreed resignation scheme’, effectively redundancy on the cheap, with the unions. So it’s a fair bet that it’s not a good offer!
Mandy Buckley, Unison senior steward, helped to lead the victorious homecare workers strike. She spoke at the protest:
“It’s time for us to stand together, and stand up to this council, and show them up for what they really are. We are working-class people, who strive and give this city everything, every day of our lives. We are not going to take any more rubbish, and we are going to stop them in their tracks.”
The right-wing Labour council has proved that workers can’t rely on it to protect them from Tory austerity. We need a working-class political alternative, alongside union action.
Socialist Party members are campaigning against any further cuts or redundancies. We are holding a public meeting to discuss how support can be built for the council workers’ campaign.
Monday 2 October, 7.30pm, top floor of The Wellington, Bennett’s Hill, Birmingham city centre B2 5SN
Tory Gove appoints cuts commissioners
Cabinet minister responsible for local government, Michael Gove, has appointed commissioners to oversee the running of Birmingham City Council.
You can read a statement about this by Birmingham Socialist Party members at birminghamsocialistparty.wordpress.com
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