Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/514/3574
From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2007
Birmingham city council
Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors
"WE'VE GOT a grudge with councillor Rudge," was one of the slogans displayed on placards by several hundred angry Birmingham city council workers. They protested against the council's attempts to impose a 'single status' pay deal that threatens huge pay cuts (in some cases as much as £18,000 a year). Rudge is the Tory 'cabinet minister' for Human Resources and 'Equal Opportunities'
In the Tories' and New Labour's Orwellian world a single status pay deal, supposed to deliver equal pay for men and women, can only be delivered by cutting thousands of women workers' pay.
Even those who gain on pay will lose on other allowances such as shift pay, weekend allowances and bonuses. Management will also try to cut holidays and extend working hours. The new pay structure is based on a private-sector model which would make council services more attractive to privateers.
Labour councillor Ian Ward opposed the Tory/LibDem attacks on pay, rightly accusing the LibDems of propping up Tory attacks.
He gave support to any industrial action the workers take but fell short of demanding the money from central government to fund single status in full with no pay cuts.
That was left to Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob who said that Gordon Brown could find money to bail out the dodgy bankers at Northern Rock but not to fund equal pay for council workers.
Much of the speech by John Hemming, Lib Dem MP for Birmingham Yardley (and still a city councillor!) was drowned out by boos and shouts of 'opportunist' and 'Tory' from workers. He said 'mistakes' had been made. This went down like a lead balloon with council workers.
Every time anyone mentioned 'strike' or 'industrial action', there was a huge round of applause.
An industrial action ballot seems inevitable and this could be one of the most important local disputes in many years. The Socialist Party's special Council Workers Bulletin was well received.
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In The Socialist 13 December 2007:
Defend Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's witch-hunt
Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's vendetta
Tommy Sheridan perjury charge
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Warning: NHS cuts seriously damage your health
Manchester: Karen Reissmann sacked - and cuts still loom
Post Office dispute
Fight to save post offices
What we think
Interest rate cut will bring no reprieve
Charity begins at the bank
Every fiddle helps
Government's lying statistics
Thousands march against climate change
Socialist Party news and analysis
Sefton's first citizen "cheating the system"
Unite Cardiff schools campaigns
Your new police terror chief
National Union of Students: Right wing force through undemocratic changes
Leicester students debate tuition fees
International socialist news and analysis
Beijing Olympics under a cloud
China: Mass protests erupt in Shenyang
Extraordinary tape destruction at CIA torture camp
Workplace news and analysis
DWP strike: Fighting the pay cuts
Birmingham city council: Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors
Action can beat Cadbury closure threat
Newham council sack Unison chair
The Socialist 13 December 2007 |
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