UNISON’s latest newsletter contains details of ten rallies they will be holding around Birmingham between 10am and 11am on 30th June. These have been added to our map of events for the day. These demos will then go to the city centre for the strike rally at 12noon
Heather Wakefield, UNISON National Secretary – Local Government, in a message to council workers said:
“Birmingham City Council’s attacks on jobs, services, pay and conditions show that the City Council has little respect for its employees, its tenants or its residents.
UNISON must lead the way in saying ‘enough is enough’. Without you, the council could not ensure the education, safety or wellbeing of the people of Birmingham and you deserve better. We know that what Birmingham does today, others will do tomorrow. Please give your full support to the industrial action.
We need to show the council that it cannot deliver without its workforce and that you deserve better treatment.
With very best wishes and good luck, Heather”
You can download and view the full newsletter here (PDF)
We would like to re-iterate Heather’s words, that without its workers, the council could not deliver the services it provides to the people of this city. This is why everyone in Birmingham should support the council workers going on strike. The new contract slashes pay and changes conditions.
By removing shift allowances (extra pay for working unsociable hours, weekends, evenings and night shifts) many workers are finding their pay will drop by thousands of pounds. A Home Care Assistant for instance, may be on around £14,000 at the moment but will see their pay drop by as much as £2,200. This might be a person who goes to people’s homes to ensure their well being, and helps to look after people who need it – whether this is elderly people, someone with a disability or someone recovering from a serious injury/accident. They often work evenings and weekends, since obviously people need help at all times, and their work enables the people they help to remain living in their own home and achieve a degree of independence that would not be possible if they were living in a home or sheltered accommodation.
The changes to conditions are equally harsh – the new contract will mean that the council can force any worker to change to a different job (on the same pay scale), in any location around the city, working any hours. So someone who works monday to friday, 9-5, within walking distance from their family home, could be forced to change to a totally different job, working evenings and weekends on the other side of the city. Their choice will be to take the job or quit.
For many people this means they could be doing something which is utterly unlike the job they originally signed up for. It may well be unsuitable for them – they may have a family or other commitments that mean that they are not able to work evenings or weekends.
Such changes in conditions and of course the cut in pay can only serve to reduce the quality of services being provided, as people will be less keen to work for the council (especially doing jobs with unsociable hours – why would anyone work nights if it didn’t pay any better?)
So we need to support the council workers’ strike, as a defense of our services and part of the ongoing struggle against cuts and for the alternative. Yesterday I posted something you can do each day in the run up to Thursday’s strike day.