Socialist Worker

Connexions workers set up mass pickets

by Simon Furze
Issue No. 2247

Striking Connexions workers protested outside a bank as they marched past
 (Pic: Simon Furze)

Striking Connexions workers protested outside a bank as they marched past (Pic: Simon Furze)


Workers at the Connexions youth service in Birmingham struck on Wednesday of last week.The half-day strike was to defend the service from attacks by the Tory-Lib Dem council.

The council is threatening to make huge cuts that have already seen the Erdington and Handsworth offices closed.

Up to 70 strikers and supporters picketed the front of the Broad Street office. The mood was defiant as workers chanted, “No ifs, no buts, no to Connexions cuts.”

Connexions is a specialist service that helps young people access work and training opportunities.

It is being hit hard by budget cuts. But the Birmingham workers are the first to strike back.

Charlie Friel, a Unison union rep at Broad Street, called the cuts “madness”.

“They are cutting a service that helps young people find work or get into further education,” he said. “We will now find ourselves behind these kids in the dole queues.”

One in five young people are out of work in parts of Birmingham.

Pickets were also held at Kingsheath and Northfield offices. Strikers then marched into the city centre to join a “No to Connexions cuts” rally of up to 250 people.

As they marched they stopped off outside a branch of Natwest bank.

They chanted “Sack the bankers to fund Connexions—can we do it? Yes we can!”

At the rally, local Labour MP Jack Dromey attacked the cuts as “cruel”.

“Never again should we have a lost generation,” he said.

Tom Maguire, a sixth form student said, “Cameron is being driven by an ideological motive to make these cuts.

“These cuts are not about the deficit—this is about the rich minority against our welfare state.”

Send messages of support to john.griffin@birmingham.gov.uk


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News
Tue 12 Apr 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2247
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