Moseley, Kings Heath and Balsall Heath Anti Cuts group will be holding a meeting on Sunday to discuss anti cuts action in this area. A number of local groups exist in Birmingham, with new groups forming in East Birmingham and Castle Vale following the Save Our City meeting.
Sunday 3rd February
Java Lounge Coffee Shop, Moseley High St
Anyone from these areas is invited to attend to discuss reviving the local group and fighting cuts to services in the B12/B13/B14 areas.
Yesterday, another national day of action was held, with 20 events taking place around the UK, and Holland and Barrett being the main target. We didn’t hold an event in Birmingham, because we had our first city centre planning meeting on the 29th.
At our meeting, it was decided to hold a walk of shame in Birmingham city centre – a tour around the city exposing some of the high street profiteers and explaining what workfare is, why it should be scrapped and what should replace it.
This will be held on Easter Monday, April 9th – one of the busiest shopping days of the year. We will meet in Chamberlain Square, outside Birmingham Central Library or in the Paradise Forum if the weather is bad, at 12noon for a guided tour around the city centre.
It is anticipated that this will take about 2 hours- there are many places to visit along the way.
Unfortunately we have been unable to find a venue for the planning meeting we were going to hold, but will look to arrange one soon.
Then on Saturday 21st April, Kings Heath Against Workfare will be holding a stall from 12-2 outside Asda (one of the companies taking advantage of the forced labour schemes) on the High Street, to continue to raise awareness and build support for the campaign to end the use of workfare on Kings Heath high street.
They will hold a further planning meeting the following Wednesday, 25th April, 7pm-8pm at All Saints Centre on Kings Heath High Street.
And on Saturday 28th April, there will be a workfare walk of shame in Acocks Green – which is happening because someone on workfare at Acocks Green British Red Cross charity shop attended the Kings Heath walk of shame – connections are being made around Birmingham to build resistance to workfare and support for claimants and workers whose jobs are threatened.
Meet at 12 noon at the British Heart Foundation Furniture & Electrical Store on Shirley Road, at the roundabout with Warwick Road. Please be aware there is also a normal BHF store on the Warwick Road.
Update: On Saturday 19th May a walk of shame will take place on Erdington high street – details are to be confirmed, but we’ll post again once we know.
Come along and support these events – continued pressure on workfare is bearing results, with homeless charity SHP pulling out last week, citing both a lack of sufficient funding and the sanctions regimes as reasons:
[quote]“We have also become concerned that the Work Programme structure leaves those who need the most support, at greatest risk of benefit sanctions. Sanctions don’t serve a constructive purpose for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised people. Rather, the sanctions system compounds the problem, pushing individuals further into poverty with little option other than to beg, steal or work for cash in hand in order to find the means to survive.[/quote]
The first event is on Saturday (17th March) – a walk of shame around Kings Heath high street exposing the workfare profiteers.
Gather outside Poundland, on the corner of High Street and Institute Road from 1pm, to set off around 1:30pm for a walk along the high street, stopping off to expose the businesses and charities that use forced labour in their stores.
The next planning meeting is scheduled for Thursday 21st March, from 7pm-8pm at All Saints Centre, Kings Heath high street.. we are waiting for final confirmation on the date but it should be correct – just please check back on our upcoming events page, or the Kings Heath Against Workfare facebook page next week to check.
Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting.
This affects people all over the city, and Handsworth Against the Cuts were out on Saturday, raising awareness and gathering signatures on a petition to keep these services in house.
Outsourcing and privatisation are all too often used as a way to cut costs at the expense of services or through changes to staff pay and conditions, rather than as a way to improve the services provided.
As the council seek to make £100m of additional cuts over the following year, we can be sure that this is being used as a way to cover some of that, or at least it will be if we let it.
On Saturday 10th March, Birmingham Against the Cuts will be co-ordinating local groups and individuals around the city to petition at leisure centres that are under threat.
As we receive confirmation of times, this list will be updated. If you live near one of these centres, or use it regularly, go and join them, or tell us that you will be there between certain times, and we will put that on this list and try to get people to join you.
A city-wide petition is being finalised, and will be available to download and print closer to the day, along with leaflets and posters.
— Alexander Stadium,
— Beeches Pool,
— Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre,
— Castle Vale Pool,
— Cocks Moor Wood Leisure Centre,
— Erdington Pool,
— Fox Hollies Leisure Centre,
— Handsworth Leisure Centre, 11am on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th Handsworth Against the Cuts
— Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre,
— Kingstanding Leisure Centre,
— Linden Road Leisure Centre,
— Moseley Road Pool: 11am onwards, Friends of Moseley Road Baths
— Nechells Sports Centre,
— Newtown Pool,
— Northfield Leisure Centre 11am onwards, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts
— Saltley Leisure Centre,
— Shard End Leisure Centre,
— Small Heath Leisure Centre,
— Shenley Court,
— Sparkhill Pool and Leisure Centre, 11am-1pm Sparkhill & Springfield Against the Cuts
— Stechford Cascades,
— Stockland Green Leisure Centre,
— Tiverton Road,
— Wyndley Leisure Centre.
Please note that this is not a complete list – the tender document says that these are included, but does not limit privatisation to just these facilities – so if your local centre is not listed here, do not think you are safe.
Poundland and Asda are just two of the high street names using unpaid labour sent on mandatory “work experience” placements from the job centre. These placements are full time, and can last for up to 6 months. Meanwhile, people are finding hours cut or paid jobs lost, as companies use people on workfare schemes for free.
Workfare as a scheme does no good for anyone except the shareholders of the companies that get to have labour paid for by the taxpayer. It does not help claimants, it puts jobs – usually minimum wage jobs- at risk, and costs the taxpayer money.
Come to a public meeting in Kings Heath to discuss workfare, and campaigning to get Poundland to pull out of the scheme. Recently both Waterstones and Sainsbury’s have said that they will no longer take part in the scheme – by putting pressure on high street names we can get them to withdraw and make this programme unworkable.
Kings Heath saw the closure of its Connexions office today, the latest in a programme of cuts that has already seen the closure of offices in Handsworth and Erdington, covering two parliamentary constituencies with the highest unemployment rate in the UK.
Offices in Yardley and Northfield will follow suit soon, leaving just a single office on Broad Street in the city centre to cover the whole of Birmingham’s young peoples’ needs for career and training advice.
Connexions will no longer be in schools either, it will be down to the schools to find money in their budgets to pay for careers advice for their pupils – an example of how this government is squeezing schools budgets whilst still maintaining that they are not cutting funding.
The latest office closure came just the day before the latest unemployment figures were announced with over unemployment rising nationally by 118,000 people, to 2.6 million.
In the West Midlands, the unemployment rate is now 9.2%, and amongst youth that figure is higher.
Over 1,000,000 young people are looking for work at the moment, and in Birmingham, the service which has helped them to find work and training is being closed.
This kind of cut is madness. Unemployment is rising, so we close the services that help people to find work and training, and instead send them on workfare “work experience” schemes that provide free labour for large businesses.
It’s time to end the cuts, and implement the alternatives to austerity. Invest in our economy, create real jobs and growth, to end the deficit and ensure that people do not pay for the bankers gambling habits.
Birmingham Against The Cuts was formed at the end of 2010 to fight the council and central government cuts. 2011 has been a busy year for all of us, with some truly memorable events. You can click on a picture to go to an article about it.
Tell us your outstanding memory of 2011, a year which has seen huge demonstrations around the UK, direct action, two huge strikes and of course the legwork of stalls, leafletting and petitions.
Our first organising meeting for 2012 will be on January 9th, 6:30pm, Unison Offices, 19th Floor, McClaren Building, 47 Priory Queensway, B4 7NN. Please come along to help plan campaigning for next year.
Save Our Neighbourhood Offices
Save The NHS
Hands Off Bournville School
Save Merrishaw Day Nursery
ATOS / Disability Benefits
Save Charles House
February Council Cuts
Sep, Lib Dem Conference
June, Justice For All
Oct, West Midlands Pensioners Convention
Feb, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts meeting
September, Build the Alternative, Broaden the Struggle
Oct, Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow March Recreation
Nov, Support the Strikers, They Strike For All of Us
Feb Council Cuts Meeting
July, Hands Off Brum Services
People and Placards
March, International Women's Day
July, Lobby of Council
Sep, Lib Dem Conference
Save Youth Services
Aston Uni Students
UCU City College
Dec 2010, Refuse Worker Strike
Sept, Unison at Lifford House
Dec, Montgomery Primary School
Nov, University of Birmingham Students occupation
Occupy Birmingham (now in the gardens behind Centenary Square)
Stalls, Leafletting and Petitions
Feb, Kings Heath
Dec, Handsworth Library Petition
February, Ian Duncan Smith
April, Francis Maude
June, David Cameron
With thanks to everyone who has contributed photos over the year.
For more photos of Birmingham protests this year, see Geoff Dexter’s Flickr Page
Tomorrow is set to be a historic day, with one of the largest strikes in the history of the UK, as millions of public sector workers strike to defend their pensions, rejecting an offer by the government which would see them pay more, work longer and get less in order to pay off the deficit.
Almost every public sector union is taking part in this co-ordinated action, and there are plenty of things happening in Birmingham. This strike is not just about pensions, it is also about cuts, and defending the whole idea of a public sector providing services on the basis of need.
From 4am there will be pickets at refuse collection depots around the city, with other workplace pickets running from 7am. Some confirmations of pickets have been received, and are listed here, but you should expect them at almost every council and government workplace.
Parents should have heard from schools as to whether they will close, but with almost every teaching union, including the NAHT head teachers union, on strike we expect to see all schools closed.
10am sees 4 local rallies around Birmingham:
Selly Oak – at the University South Gates, by the New Bristol Road (the newly opened bypass)
Handsworth – By Handsworth Library, Soho Road
Erdington – Six Ways
East Birmingham Heartlands Hospital
These rallies will feed to the main TUC march which assembles from 11:30am at Lionel Street Car Park, and should proceed through the city centre. We have had uncomfirmed reports that Birmingham City Council want to charge us £10,000 to walk through our city! We hope that the TUC do not bow to pressure and pay up, and that we march through the city in defiance of this blatant attempt to prevent us expressing our democratic rights.
The march proceeds to a rally at the NIA which beings at 1:30pm – doors to the NIA open at 12:30pm. The rally has many speakers from the union movement:
CHAIR: Lee Barron, CWU Midlands Regional Secretary & Midlands TUC Chair
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary
Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary
Janice Godrich, PCS President
Karen Jennings, Unison Assistant General Secretary
Martin Johnson, ATL Deputy General Secretary
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary
Barry Lovejoy, UCU Head of Further Education
Joe Morgan, GMB West Midlands Regional Secretary
Tony Woodley, UNITE Executive Officer
Tomorrow is set up to be a great day – all it needs now is you!
Remember that you can sign up to a union on the day and still strike, so at work today, or on the picket lines tomorrow, make sure anyone who isn’t unionised knows this, joins up and comes out tomorrow.
Birmingham City Council held a consultation meeting last night in Kings Heath, which was attended by many members of the public, who expressed opposition to the council cuts. Two of our supporters were in attendance and have said this about the meeting:
Just a brief report from a very angry Budget Consultation meeting in Kings Heath, where a packed community centre overwhelmingly passed resolutions opposing all cuts to services , and calling for cuts to executives’ pay equivalent to the “savings” rates proposed in the document.
Astonishingly, the entirely partial presenting officer (Burrows?) took a transparently partisan Tory stance on deficit reduction, and insultingly responded to the call for executives’ pay to be cut by observing that the Counciil’s work was so important, and so beyond the comprehension of mere mortals that it’s essential to pay the highest rates possible to ensure that the most special and wise individuals imaginable will apply for vacancies.
I’m still left with the mental image of the pigs gorging themselves on apples and milk while the rest of the creatures on Orwell’s farm starve.
Along with demands to know the audience’s political affiliations, misinformation about cuts to children’s centres and a disingenuous statement about not raising eligibility criteria for adult social services (not acknowledging that they had been forced to backtrack by a judicial review). A complete whitewash.
These forums are the opportunity for us all to have our say about the Council’s proposed budget for next year. Please make every effort to be there to make our views known. The Sutton Coldfield meeting managed to get a motion passed at the meeting opposing the budget for 2011-12. I have pasted a copy of the motions below – we could do the same or similar next Wednesday. They then sent a copy of the motion to the press.
Wed 9th Nov Kings Heath Community Centre 6.30 – 8.30pm
8 Heathfield Rd Kings Heath
Buses: 11, 50, 50A, x50, 35 Free on site parking
This meeting opposes all the cuts Birmingham City Council is proposing in the 2012/13 Budget.
It further calls for the reinstatement of all the cuts in the 2011/12 budget in particular reversing the massive pay cuts (up to £5,000 a year) being imposed on many City Council workers.
The official rhetoric on the cuts is that we are all in this together. In line with this establishment line it is agreed to support the following.
The percentage cut in the 2012/13 budget agreed by the Birmingham City Council will be the same percentage cut in Councillors allowances and pay of the Chief Executive and directors of the Council’s departments.
For example if the Council agrees a 10% cut in services for Birmingham people, the allowance of the Council leader and the pay of the Chief Executive will be cut by 10%.