Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10271

Posted on 21 September 2010 at 16:36 GMT

Birmingham: Front line in the fight against cuts

Sometimes the bosses hesitate before attacking workers. Sometimes they proceed slowly. And sometimes they rush to strike a devastating blow. Birmingham City Council struck just such a blow last week when every one of its 26,000 employees was told that their job was on the line unless they accepted reduced pay and conditions.

Birmingham Socialist Party members

The council's move is part of a drive to slash costs in the face of brutal government funding cuts of 330 million.

Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008, photo S O'Neill

Birmingham council workers strike on 5 February 2008, photo S O'Neill

Any council worker who refuses to accept a new contract faces being sacked without compensation, and then may or may not be re-employed on forcibly reduced terms and conditions.

Chief Executive Stephen 'Hatchet' Hughes made it clear that he would stand for no opposition to the cuts.

'Tinkering round the edges doesn't work in this context', he stated, 'we have to work out a plan and be ruthless in implementing it'.

The Tory-Liberal administration in the city has had no qualms about following the lead of its Tory-Liberal counterpart in parliament, having already announced 2,000 redundancies earlier in the year, along with cuts and closures in services such as care homes, nurseries, child protection and mental health support.

Birmingham, which was once known as the 'city of a thousand-and-one trades', has seen its manufacturing industry reduced to a rump over recent years, leaving behind a wasteland of derelict industrial sites, run-down council estates and under-resourced public services.

Skilled jobs have evaporated and a job in the public sector has become the only decent avenue open to workers as an alternative to a 'McJob' in the service industry.

If the council bosses casualise the jobs of their 26,000 workers, it will have an impact far beyond local government.

The families of the workers will be affected, along with private sector workers who supply and support the council.

People who depend heavily on public services, such as the elderly, youth and parents with young children will be hit hardest of all, in a city where homelessness has already increased 140% this year.

Birmingham Council workers on strike, 24 April 2008, photo S. O Neill

Birmingham Council workers on strike, 24 April 2008, photo S. O Neill

The 'phoney war' between the classes in Birmingham is over - the bosses have declared open class war.

Workers in Birmingham and the West Midlands will not take this lying down. They will expect a fighting response from the trade union leaders to defend their terms and conditions and all public services in the region.

Coordinated action by the city's trade unions can defeat these cuts, with industrial action by council workers backed up by solidarity action from workers elsewhere in the public and private sectors.

Unions should unite to call a massive demonstration in Birmingham to defend public services, leading to a city wide public sector strike if necessary.

The spivs and speculators in the banks and stock exchanges caused this recession by gambling away billions.

We say: let the rich pay the price for the crisis, not the workers!
Solidarity with Birmingham City Council workers!

Support the mass meeting of the workforce. 6:30pm, Thursday 23 September

Clarendon Suites, Stirling Rd, Birmingham

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: The collapse of stalinism

triangleSelling the Socialist: we're back!

triangleBirmingham South Socialist Party: 1990s struggles against the far-right

triangleBirmingham South Socialist Party: Charities, volunteering and the welfare state

triangleBirmingham North Socialist Party: The General Strike and workers' power

Cuts:

triangleUnite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: How to fight the cuts

triangleFighting for over 250 jobs that are under threat at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo M Kamish

triangleOnline rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!

Council:

triangleEngage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleLuton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

Public services:

triangleTories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

triangleMore than ever, we need accountable union leaders

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/8/20

Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism

5/8/20

Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest

5/8/20

Hull

Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person

5/8/20

Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!

5/8/20

Caerphilly

GE Aviation workers march to save jobs

5/8/20

Trotsky

80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally

5/8/20

BAME

Fighting to end racism and capitalism

5/8/20

Doncaster

Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women

5/8/20

The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule

5/8/20

Unite

Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

5/8/20

BT

Oppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

5/8/20

Hospital

Sick pay victory at Homerton hospital!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999