Socialist Worker

Birmingham


'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.

Transport from all over Britain

07 September 2002
CAMPAIGNERS in the Stop the War Coalition are uniting with local groups to get transport from across Britain to the 28 September demonstration. A 640-seat train is running through Glasgow and Edinburgh to the march. A further five coaches are booked from Edinburgh, and transport is organised from Greenock, Fife, Aberdeen and Dundee. In Runcorn, in the north west of England, and Bristol the postal workers' CWU union is running its own coaches to the demonstration. In Cardiff the CWU union has given £200 to help fund transport from the area. Around 100 coaches are booked from Birmingham. Around £10,000 has been raised to pay for billboard and newspaper adverts in the ru

Leslie Osborne

10 August 2002
COMRADES WHO knew Les will be sad to learn that he died on 30 July. Above all, Les believed in being an activist. He had been a car worker at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham in the 1970s and early 1980s, and after he retired he became one of the mainstays of his local Socialist Workers Party branch in the city.

1,000 in Birmingham meet over pay

03 August 2002
THE firefighters' FBU union last week announced that it was going to recall its national conference in Manchester on 12 September in its battle over pay. This conference would start a national strike ballot to fight for basic pay of £30,000 a year.

Racist bosses' tragic 'victory'

27 July 2002
ON 16 November 1999 Jermaine Lee, a black Birmingham postal worker, took his own life. He was 26 years old. Last week the legal investigation into the case came to its conclusion. It revealed a terrifying level of racist harassment at the Aston sorting office where Jermaine worked. There is a powerful myth that racism is generated by the "uneducated" and "ignorant" people at the bottom of society. The people higher up are allegedly more "liberal".

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