UNISON council workers strike

Unison Workers demonstrate outside ICC (c) Geoff Dexter-Sherborne Publications

UNISON members working for Birmingham City Council were on strike again today, due to changes being imposed on their contracts by the council, which will see pay cuts and changes to conditions that mean workers will be told to do any job on their pay grade, at any location in the city, working any hours. We have previously reported on the contract changes, that will see workers on £13,000/year losing as much as £4,000, today we will let the pictures tell the story, and given the amount of press that was around today, will provide links to other places reporting.

With thanks to Geoff Dexter (more photos), Chris H and Bob Whitehead for the photos – if you’ve been on a picket line this morning and have photos, please send them in to us by emailing BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com and we’ll add them in

1 Comment

Filed under Birmingham City Council, strike

One response to “UNISON council workers strike

  1. An email has been sent to us from a Mr G Smith regarding this strike:

    22 September 2011

    To: Support Officer (Warden)
    An Appeal

    Like many, many other people I am strongly opposed to attacks on the rights, pay, pensions and conditions of public sector workers in this city and elsewhere. I am also strongly opposed to the detrimental effects these attacks and cuts will, if not properly resisted, have on council and care services and those who rely on them.

    I have been a trade union member since the age of 17 and, although my overall health now prevents me from being as active as I once was, I support trade union action to stop this city council pushing on to many of its employees the so-called Birmingham contract (sometimes nicknamed the “Martini” contract because, if initiated, it would mean council workers being forced to work “anytime, any place, anywhere”). Such a contract will have an utterly devastating effect on jobs and services for the many who need them.

    Because I am not as up to speed with events as I once was, I was not aware that city council Unison members had organised a day of strike action on 21 September to protest against these contracts until I saw a TV news bulletin at 8:30 pm. This means that I was not aware of the strike when you knocked on my door earlier that day. I don’t know for sure if you are a Unison member or not. However, I do know that many of your fellow council workers are fighting hard for some sort of decent future as far as jobs, services and proper care for the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable are concerned.

    Please be aware that, had I known about the strike before hand, I would not have been prepared to have any contact with you or any other warden on a strike day. As a life long trade unionist, this is nothing less than a matter of principle to me. Please also be aware in advance that I will not be prepared to have any contact or other dealings with any council employee on any future strike day(s) that are organised – unless they are standing on a picket line or attending and protest demonstration because I would much rather they all supported the actions.

    I need support but am prepared to forego it on strike days because action to prevent attacks on jobs and services so we have some sort of future worth having is the greater good.

    I have heard it said that those in sheltered housing (and other areas) whose needs may be greater than mine ever will be would suffer if strikes took place. Those who believe that should look at the bigger picture here and seriously think about of how much worse important care and support services will become for all of us if the council’s ruinous “Martini” contract threats are not stopped.

    Was it agreed by Unison that support officers of council-run sheltered housing schemes would have dispensation on 21 September? I don’t know but, even if it was, when was the last time dispensation saved a single job or a single service which was in the firing line?

    I appeal to you to join Unison if you are not already a member (Phone 0121-200 7105 or 7127 and get them to convince you if I can’t) and support any future collective action and strikes because there will be little worth having for council workers and vulnerable service users alike if the council bosses get their nasty way. If you are a member of Unison or another trade union that took action on 21 September and dispensation for those in your areas of work was not agreed by strike organisers on duty of care grounds, I can only hope your refusal to support the strike is something which will weigh very heavily on your conscience and I appeal to you to rethink next time.

    These actions are not being taken lightly but they are being taken to protect all of our futures.

    As a tenant with needs who is also a strong Unite trade unionist, this has been a very difficult letter to write. However, I firmly believe it is also a necessary letter.

    G Smith
    Flat 30

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