Socialist Worker

Hundreds of home care strikers and supporters join march in Birmingham

by David Hughes, Birmingham local government Unison branch (pc)
Issue No. 2617

Birmingham home care workers and supporters last weekend

Birmingham home care workers and supporters last weekend (Pic: David Hughes)


Around 400 home care workers and their supporters staged a lively march through the centre of Birmingham last Saturday.

It followed a strike rally outside the council headquarters in Victoria Square.

The march came on the last day of a three-day strike against council plans to slash the working hours of the home care enablement team.

Workers planned to strike again from Sunday until Wednesday, and then from 28 August to 1 September.

The cuts affect 285 workers and will see carers reduced to 14, 21 or 22 hours. Over 60 percent of them work full time or over 30 hours a week.

This move will slash the earnings of low paid staff and remove entitlement to tax credits and Universal Credit.

On the march in Birmingham

On the march in Birmingham (Pic: David Hughes)


Mandy Buckley is the Unison convenor for the home care workers.

She told the rally that she faced a cut of 44 hours a month and would not be able to afford to work.

“The strike is also about keeping a free, directly provided service to vulnerable citizens and resisting privatisation,” she added.

Unison branch secretary Caroline Johnson said, “They criticise Corbyn, saying he wants to take us back to the 1970s. But I prefer that to the Victorian era the bloody Tories are taking us to.”

Money

Roger McKenzie, Unison assistant general secretary, slammed the local Labour council. “They are not there to represent the money people,” he said.

“They are there to represent working people who put them there to stand up for local services.”

Activists from Birmingham TUC and the Unite and FBU unions also addressed the strike rally.

Strikers had attended a mass meeting followed by a showing of the film Made In Dagenham during the previous two strike days.

They leafletted the five largest council workplaces last Friday and were outside the four refuse collection depots at 5am, drumming up support from bin workers.

The rally was followed by a march through the crowded city centre giving out leaflets and collecting for the strike fund. Shoppers applauded the strikers.

Disgracefully, Paul Golding and about ten supporters of the fascist Britain First jeered and jostled them, kicking a collection bucket out of a striker’s hands.

Strikers reacted magnificently, silencing them with a loud chorus of, “We are black, white and Asian, and we’re on strike.”

Send messages of support to info@birminghamunison.co.uk
Contact Birmingham Unison to invite a home care worker to speak to your union branch.
Donate to support the strikers—make cheques payable to “Birmingham Unison” and make clear it’s for the hardship fund. Send to Mclaren building, 35 Dale End, Birmingham B4 7LN

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