Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/765/16677

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 May 2013

Brighton bin workers fight pay cuts - this time from the Greens

Brighton Socialist Party
Widespread support for the Brighton bin workers shown on some bins in the area, photo Support Brighton Council workers Facebook page

Widespread support for the Brighton bin workers shown on some bins in the area, photo Support Brighton Council workers Facebook page   (Click to enlarge)

Brighton and Hove staff at Hollingdean bin depot staged a two day sit-in last week in protest against cuts to their allowances.

A significant chunk of take-home pay is made up of these allowances. Many stand to lose up to 4,000 a year. 260 members at the Green Party-controlled council's Cityclean department would be particularly badly affected, with an average loss of 2,000 a year.

Disgracefully the council is trying to justify this action by saying it needs to implement equal pay for its workforce.

It is clear that just like the Tories and Labour councils elsewhere, the Green version of 'equal pay' means the driving down of workers' wages and conditions to the lowest level rather than improving the pay of women workers in particular.

The GMB union walked out of negotiations over a threat to sack and re-engage a handful of park staff on the new terms and conditions.

On 8 May this threat was extended to the entire affected workforce. Instead of waiting for the end of the ballot process, workers staged a spontaneous unofficial two-day strike and have attracted significant support from within the city and further afield.

This has led to large splits in the Green Party, with the party branch passing a resolution that condemns the plans if they result in a loss of pay and calling on the council to consult alternative lawyers.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, has likewise come out against the council and visited the workers to express her solidarity.

Fire has been directed at council leader Jason Kitcat in particular, with calls for his resignation. The workers have now returned to work (working to rule) after receiving a guarantee that the proposals would be re-examined, GMB has initiated a ballot for all-out strike action.

Since their election in 2011 the Greens have tried to square the circle of 'opposing' the cuts while refusing to try to build a mass movement against the government.

The next round of cuts will go very deep, with an estimated 120 million reduction over the next five years.

Disappointment with the timidity of the council has been steadily growing. The present strike has brought questions over the council strategy to a head. However there is no genuine opposition to these plans.

Will Labour support the strikes? Will they oppose the government and call for them to reverse funding cuts? Or will they try to play a similar game to the Greens and invariably fail, gambling away the population of Brighton and Hove in the process? They have voted consistently in favour of cuts. How can they now present themselves as standing up for the working class?

This dispute highlights the important and powerful role of the organised working class. The refuse workers are the best organised workforce in Brighton and Hove with a long proud record of fighting back.

GMB and Unison, many of whose members will also lose out under the pay proposals, should make it clear that this fight is not just about a savage attack on their members' pay packets.

It is part of the wider struggle against the cuts: political measures which demand a political response.

The union subs of low-paid council workers are still used to campaign for the election of Labour councillors who (with a handful of honourable exceptions outside of Brighton) vote for cuts and job losses in Brighton and elsewhere.

Every council election should be contested by a candidate committed to oppose all cuts and defend working people.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has been standing working-class candidates since 2010. How much more could be achieved if powerful public sector unions like GMB, Unite and Unison threw their weight behind a genuine electoral struggle against the cuts?

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: 

 


In The Socialist 15 May 2013:


Fight the bedroom tax

Axe the killer tax: End the bedroom tax now

Bedroom tax non-implementation


Socialist Party news and analysis

Give us jobs, not Tory lies

Stop the health cuts!

Fat cat tax-dodging: 200 lorry loads of lolly!

Con-Dems' benefit fact fraud

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Japan's 'Abenomics'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

TUSC builds support in Leicester byelection

Swansea's food bank for students

British government supports murderous Sri Lankan regime

Socialist Party meeting against cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Gloves off in Mid Yorks hospital battle

Brighton bin workers fight pay cuts - this time from the Greens

Wales TUC: no fight against austerity

Unison leader 'gets it wrong' over action on pay

PCS conference 20-23 May

One Housing

Workplace news in brief


Reader's comment

Letter to the Tories who tell me to 'work hard and strive'


Socialist history

When mass action defeated Thatcher's poll tax

Yeadon Mill strike 1913


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 May 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Brighton:

triangleLabour councils miss opportunity to stop Tory cuts

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: After the election, what next?

triangleBrighton anti-academy campaign steps up

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Tories out now!

Pay:

triangleReaders' opinion

trianglesocialism2020

triangleTower Hamlets council strike

triangleChange in leadership needed to secure union's future

Cuts:

triangleLeeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

triangleNews in brief

triangleCome to the NSSN conference

Bin workers:

triangleVictory for Medway bin workers

triangleRefuse collection workers strike

Council:

triangleCardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

Green:

triangleThem & Us

GMB:

triangleCoordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/7/20

Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Stop closure and privatisation of Jute Mills

1/7/20

Fighting Fund

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time

1/7/20

PCS

Change in leadership needed to secure union's future

1/7/20

Black Lives Matter

BLM has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists

1/7/20

Ken Douglas

Red flags line road for Ken

1/7/20

Leeds

Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

1/7/20

Socialist

socialism2020

1/7/20

Equity

Trade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

1/7/20

Equity

Equity union president elections: fight for resources for all

1/7/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

1/7/20

Cardiff

Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

1/7/20

NSSN

Come to the NSSN conference

1/7/20

Sunday trading

Sunday trading: Government blinks first

1/7/20

Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets council strike

1/7/20

Ministry of Justice

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

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: 07748 534 891

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


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