Birmingham protest against youth cuts. Photo: Brum SP
Birmingham protest against youth cuts. Photo: Brum SP

Jonathan Osako, Birmingham North Socialist Party

Unite, GMB and Unison unions organised a protest against Birmingham’s Labour council’s cuts. The flame of anger thawed the numbing cold and rain.

Fiery speeches drew 100 people from all walks of life to the streets, including many children and older people, against the cowardly and extortionate decision of the council. The union-led protest on 2 March was attended by workers from the council, NHS, education and the fire brigade.

Workers back strike

87% of GMB members have backed strike action in an indicative vote to resolve equal pay claims that total £867 million. Unite has raised concern over the budget cuts to the city’s Labour MPs as well, but have so far been met with a wall of silence.

The Tory government is weak, and a general election is taking place this year. Birmingham council is in a good position to demand more funding from central government. But, instead, it cut funding for the most vulnerable in the community, while increasing the council tax on struggling people by 21%.

The council has wasted £130 million on its still-not-functioning IT system. An IT expert told me that a programme of this scope should cost a fraction of this.

The decision of the council reflects the attitude of the Tories, but also Keir Starmer’s Labour. Rather than taking responsibility for their mistakes, they make working people pay the price.

This shows the need for a new mass party that answers to the workers, and not the wealthy lobbyists, and why the Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) election stand.