Socialist Worker

Birmingham


HSBC bank in the rush to the bottom

25 October 2003
BANKING giant HSBC has become the latest multinational to announce plans to move jobs overseas. Some 4,000 jobs will be axed from its call centres in Swansea, Birmingham, Brentwood and Sheffield, and transferred to call centres in India, China and Malaysia.

Shop workers

27 September 2003
BIRMINGHAM'S NEW multimillion pound Bullring shopping centre opened last month with massive publicity. But it's a 21st century building under 19th century management. A shop worker told me about working there:

Anti-war

13 September 2003
CND THE CAMPAIGN for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held its conference in Birmingham last weekend. The 350 participants debated alliances with other movements and how best to oppose war. Kate Hudson was narrowly elected as CND national chairperson. Kate stands for a close working relationship with groups such as the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain. People with similar views won 12 of the 15 national executive positions.

Engineering workers

13 September 2003
WORKERS AT Goodrich Engine Control Systems in Birmingham struck against redundancies on Friday last week and were set to strike again on Friday this week. Members of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) have been in dispute with the company since the summer when the company announced 115 jobs would go "due to bad trading conditions in aerospace".

'Victorian' bosses attack the weakest and most needy

13 September 2003
THE recent announcement of the permanent closures of social security offices in the Birmingham area will create huge problems for the weakest in society. Local social security offices have served the community for many years and the hardship for the disabled and pensioners has not been included in the thinking behind the changes.

Vultures in NHS

30 August 2003
AN NHS hospital in Birmingham was handed over to private management last week. The NHS trust's board signed a £1.3 million agreement with health service consultants Secta. The management of Good Hope Hospital was put out to franchise after it dropped from a three-star rating to zero because of mistakes in waiting list figures. Secta has appointed a former senior official from the NHS, Anne Heast, to take over as chief executive. She will be seconded to the hospital on a salary of £122,500.

Gun crime, the police and racism

09 August 2003
Over the last few months there has been a barrage of headlines about black people and crime.The tragic shooting of two young women in Birmingham at new year led to an outpouring of grief and a moral panic about gun crime. Politicians queued up to tell us that rap music was the cause of the problem. But the whole idea of black on black crime has been falsely created by the police.

More ideas for the movement

19 July 2003
SALMA YAQOOB chair Birmingham Stop the War Coalition

Birmingham meeting

05 July 2003
PEOPLE PACKED into the council chamber in Birmingham last Sunday evening. But this was a very different type of meeting from the usual stuffy, bureaucratic gatherings of councillors. The chamber was filled with over 250 Birmingham residents - young and old, black, white and Asian.

Vibrant political party

31 May 2003
A FANTASTICALLY well attended Birmingham Gay Pride 2003 last weekend celebrated cultural and sexual diversity once more with tremendous verve and great style. The weekend was great fun, kicking off with a traditional march from the city centre and continuing with a vibrant street party, market and fairground attractions. There was also a strong political atmosphere and many revellers were concerned by the Nazi BNP's recent council gains.

Let's tear up all the SATs

24 May 2003
"I AM going to completely boycott these tests. I am never doing the SATs in my school again." That's what Birmingham primary school head teacher Carol Lyndon told Socialist Worker on Monday after her frustration at the government's compulsory tests for school children reached breaking point.

Longbridge

19 April 2003
THOUSANDS OF workers at the Longbridge MG Rover car plant in Birmingham rejected a measly 2.2 percent pay offer and voted overwhelmingly for industrial action this week. TGWU union members voted three to one for industrial action and three to two for strike action.

Firefighters

12 April 2003
ACTIVISTS IN the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) met in Birmingham on Wednesday of this week to prepare for a planned recalled conference next Tuesday. But the FBU executive was to meet later this week to consider calling off the conference and seeking yet more tiny changes to the terrible deal the employers have offered.

Firefighters

05 April 2003
FIREFIGHTERS in Newcastle remain determined to win a decent pay increase. A national activists' meeting has been called to organise to reject the latest terrible offer from the employers: 1pm, Wednesday 9 April, United Services, Gough Street, Birmingham.

The £30 billion pensions theft

15 March 2003
A SERIES of disputes have broken out as employers, including at BAE Systems, Peugeot and the Birmingham Evening Mail, try to make workers pay more for their pensions. Management threaten that unless workers accept pay cuts then pension "final salary" schemes - which offer improved benefits - will be ditched.

Set clear priorities

01 March 2003
ACTIVISTS IN the PCS civil servants' union from the Left Unity group were to meet in Birmingham on Saturday. They will know the result of the membership ballot for more democracy in the union.

Health workers

01 February 2003
AN IMPORTANT meeting for all health workers is set to take place in Birmingham this weekend. Every worker in the health service should try to come, whether you're a porter or a nurse, a cleaner or a receptionist, work in a hospital or in the community, are in Unison, GMB, Amicus or any other health union.

Socialist Alliance

25 January 2003
THERE WILL be local council elections in many parts of England outside London on Thursday 1 May. A number of Socialist Alliances, including Birmingham, Bristol and Colchester, have already selected some candidates. Many more Socialist Alliances will be selecting candidates over the next few weeks.

Back FBU members

25 January 2003
BIRMINGHAM: Members of the FBU and other trade unionists lobbied the appeal by FBU activist Steve Godward in Birmingham last week against his sacking. The union sees what has happened to Steve, who also stood as a Socialist Alliance candidate at the general election, as a clear case of victimisation. The procedure at the appeal confirmed that. It found Steve guilty and jumped straight to upholding his sacking without even hearing the mitigation.

What is the truth about gun crime?

11 January 2003
THE HORRIFIC killing of two young women in Birmingham on New Year's Eve has sparked a debate-and a moral panic-about gun crime. Newspapers are screaming about "warfare on our streets". They say our inner cities are awash with gun-toting crack cocaine dealers. Politicians and the police line up to point the finger of blame at hip-hop and rap bands.

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