Socialist Worker

Birmingham council threatens to sack 26,000 workers

Issue No. 2219

Birmingham council bosses have sent some 26,000 council workers official letters threatening them with the sack.

The Tory councillors—the same ones who trying to deny activists the right to march past the Tory Party conference in the city on 3 October (see Activists ready to march on Tories’ conference )—are putting the workers on notice in order to tear up contracts.

Unions say that Birmingham, the largest council in Europe, is telling workers to either sign new contracts or face redundancy.

The Section 188 notices—a legal process used to dismiss staff—were issued to 25,837 workers at the council.

That’s the entire workforce, apart from those based in schools.

The notices are being used to push through changes to car allowances, staff parking and flexible working, but could also be a prelude to job cuts.

Unison regional secretary Roger McKenzie called the notices a “draconian, ill-considered, dangerous and politically motivated attack on council workers”.

The changes are about “making it easier to get rid of people and making it harder for them to complain about that,” he added.

It is part of council chief executive Stephen Hughes’s plan to cut jobs and slash spending by £330 million.

Yet Hughes is one of the highest paid local government officials in the country—pocketing £220,000 a year.

GMB regional officer Joe Morgan said, “The council’s chief executive is acting like a school bully… Our members are in shock and are up in arms.”

The unions were organising an emergency mass meeting as Socialist Worker went to press.

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