Socialist Worker

Two groups of Birmingham council workers fight to bin Labour’s attacks

Issue No. 2642

Bin workers striking in 2017

Bin workers striking in 2017 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Two groups of workers in Birmingham were set to strike together this week against attacks by a Labour council.

Care workers were set to walk out on Saturday and Sunday.

The Unison union members are fighting plans to axe jobs and slash hours.

The predominantly women workers are facing cuts of up to £4,100 a year for a role that’s already low paid.

Strikers have begun a programme of leafletting in the wards of key councillors who are pushing the proposals forward.

They plan to visit the ward of deputy council leader Brigid Jones this Saturday and tell residents what she is doing.

Previous leafletting sessions have been met with a lot of support from residents of the Jones’s ward.

Birmingham’s bin workers struck on Tuesday and were set to strike on Friday of this week.

Fighting

The Unite union members are fighting management behaviour since their strikes in 2017. The 300 workers have been on a work to rule since 29 December.

Now they are set to walk out two days a week for the next five weeks.

They say that bosses have given “secret payments” to bin workers who are members of the GMB union and who didn’t strike alongside their Unite colleagues.

They struck in 2017 against the council’s plans to lay off some workers and force them to reapply for different, lower paid jobs.

Workers forced the bosses back.

But they did accept a deal with new responsibilities and extra hours.

Alongside the strikes, Unite is also set to take Birmingham City Council to court over its implementation of the deal from 2017.

It blasted the council for not respecting the deal.

Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary, said the council was “seeking to unpick it, while trying to defend the blacklisting of workers who took strike action to protect that role”.

Bin workers are set to strike on 22, 27, 28 February and on 4, 8, 12, 13, 21 and 22 March

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