Socialist Worker

Local government round up: Birmingham home care workers plan more action

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2625

Strikers lead the demonstration against the Tory party conference in Birmingham

Strikers lead the demonstration against the Tory party conference in Birmingham (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Birmingham home care workers are preparing to unleash another programme of strikes in their long-running battle against redundancies, cuts and privatisation.

A vote at a 130-strong meeting of Unison union members saw them unanimously vote to reject the Labour-run council’s latest offer.

After talks workers were offered contracts of 16, 23 and 27.15 hours a week.

Council bosses initially wanted to transfer workers onto reduced hours of 14, 21 or 23 hours a week.

But Mandy Buckley, Unison senior steward, said workers need more hours to pay for the essentials.

“We’re low-paid workers, we’re struggling now, just to get by month by month or week on week”, she told Socialist Worker. “It’s so bad people could lose their homes in three months and be in a hostel, moving round the country.”

Shift 

The new shift patterns would leave workers unable to take the second jobs that many have in order to survive.

Workers are standing firm in the face of council pressure.

The 280 Unison union members have periodically struck for ten months to stop the council’s assaults.

Workers are planning to announce new strike dates soon—likely to be five days of action at a time.

The council’s latest offers shows it is able to make some concessions.

More determined action could finish off its rotten plans for good.


All out to stop bosses’ dogs dinner over redundancies

Dinner ladies at Ladywood Primary school in Grimethorpe started an all out indefinite strike last Thursday.

The Unison union members are fighting redundancy.

School bosses in South Yorkshire want to slash their jobs and use teaching assistants to supervise meal times instead.

This strike against a stubborn head teacher shows workers who are being badly treated in other schools that it’s possible to fight back.

At a meeting with Unison last Wednesday the head teacher announced that two Higher Level Teaching Assistants (TAs) would also be made redundant. TAs will join the all out strike once they have given two weeks’ notice.

TA Jade Nippers said, “We’ve had support from other schools who have said they want to learn from us how to organise a picket line”.

Parents have been signing a petition for the dinner ladies.

Jade said, “We have a good community in Grimethorpe. Unison are planning a fun day for local people to come along and join us and celebrate our unity”.

George Arthur


Glasgow gears up for action 

Action is on the horizon at Glasgow council after Unison and GMB unions announced strikes for equal pay.

Some 7,200 workers in education and care, cleaning and catering services are set to walk out on 23 and 24 October.

They are part of a 12-year battle with the council after it revised pay structures to grade women’s work lower than men’s work.


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