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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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".
13 July 2002
AIRPORT WORKERS are balloting for strike action that could hit Manchester, Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Birmingham airports this summer. The 1,500 workers are employed by the airport services business Aviance which is owned by the transport group Go Ahead. The workers, members of the TGWU and GMB unions, process passengers and dispatch aircraft.
27 April 2002
OVER 2,000 people marched in support of the Palestinians in Birmingham last Saturday. The march was organised by the newly formed Birmingham Joint Committee on Palestine. It was even bigger than the march and rally in Birmingham last December against the war in Afghanistan.
20 April 2002
I RECENTLY attended a press conference at Birmingham Town Hall to announce the result of the council housing sell-off ballot. On my way in a press officer, power dressed in the way that only New Labour types seem to think looks good, asked me to sign the book of condolence for the Queen Mother.
20 April 2002
BIRMINGHAM tenants delivered a body blow last weekend to the government's plans to destroy council housing. The two to one vote against privatisation shows New Labour's bullying can be beaten. Tenants were promised investment in their homes if they voted for transfer to a private housing association.
13 April 2002
GOVERNMENT MINISTERS were "stunned" and their housing policy was "hurled off course" this week when Birmingham tenants voted by 67 percent to 33 percent against housing privatisation. This was a key test case for New Labour's policy of destroying council housing. The vote shows how the gut feeling that people have against privatisation can be mobilised and focused by a strong campaign.
23 March 2002
Ballots are now under way in Birmingham and Glasgow. Britain's two biggest council landlords are asking their tenants to say yes to transfer to housing associations.
16 March 2002
"IT'S FLEXIBLE working for the company, not for us. People are so fed up with it," said an MG Rover worker in Longbridge, Birmingham. Workers in the plant are voting this week in a ballot for action over pay and flexible working.
16 March 2002
This month sees key battles in a largely unreported war over the future of one of the pillars of the welfare state. Tenants of Britain's two biggest landlords, Birmingham and Glasgow councils, will vote on New Labour plans to hand their homes to private housing companies. Thousands of tenants in Crewe are already voting in a similar ballot, and Bradford council tenants will also vote this month.
09 March 2002
Birmingham council tenants are being asked to hand control of their homes to the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Labour-run city council was meeting on Tuesday of this week to give the final go-ahead to a ballot starting on 18 March over the plan to privatise over 80,000 council homes.
02 March 2002
Thousands of workers at the Longbridge MG Rover car plant in Birmingham are balloting on strike action. Both the TGWU and Amicus unions have agreed to ballot their members in a fight over bosses' attempts to get workers to accept more "flexible" working arrangements.