Strike rally, Sheffield housing workers, 6.1.16, photo by Sheffield SP

Strike rally, Sheffield housing workers, 6.1.16, photo by Sheffield SP   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Sheffield housing staff strike against cuts

Sam Morecroft

On Wednesday 6th January Sheffield City Council housing workers took strike action against changes to their terms and conditions of employment, including pay cuts of up to £4,000 a year for staff.

The strike came following a work-to-rule which has been in place since mid-December against an imposed restructure which has not been agreed with the workers’ union, the GMB. To add insult to injury, some area managers are set to receive pay rises of as much as £9,000 a year as a result of the restructure!

Socialist Party members and TUSC supporters came to support the workers at a lunchtime protest outside Sheffield town hall. Around 100 people attended, including members of the public who stopped by to show support.

We got an enthusiastic response to our petition for Sheffield City Council to adopt a ‘No Cuts’ budget in 2016, as well as interest in our ideas about how the Labour council could fight the Tory cutbacks instead of meekly carrying them out and forcing workers out on strike to defend their conditions.

There was particular interest in the No Cuts Budget conference we are organising jointly with Sheffield Trades Council and other anti-austerity groups on Saturday 13th February.

GMB regional political organiser Pete Davies pointed out in his speech to the rally that while GMB is affiliated to the Labour Party, the Labour council in Sheffield has refused to negotiate with the union in this dispute, and that this was also the case in other council service sectors.

He warned that by February, if the council is not prepared to seriously negotiate with GMB members it could have strikes on its hands in at least three or four different departments, including recycling and waste management.

Housing workers pledged to continue with strikes if their concerns are not addressed.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 January 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.