Tag Archives: 30th Nov

Mass public sector strike day, 30th November

30th November could see 3,000,000 public sector workers on strike over pension reforms that will see them pay more and work longer to get less.
These reforms are being made to pension schemes that have been audited as affordable, and which produce annual surpluses. The cuts are being made in order to reduce the deficit, which was created by the financial crash of 2007. It was not teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants, council workers or any public sector workers who caused this crisis, but the coalition government is making them and us pay for it rather than the bankers and corporate system that did cause the crisis.

Go to our new set of pages on the strike, where you can read about the pensions issue, the strikes and why you should support them. This is a work in progress and over the next few weeks we will publish articles about the strike, pensions and the public sector.
We would love to hear from you – tell us why you are striking, or if you are not a public sector worker why you support the strike. Either comment here, or email BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com and we will publish your comments.

We will also be doing our best to pull together all the events of the day, from pickets to demonstrations to rallies, and mapping them out. If your workplace will have a picket, please let us know so we can add you to the map.
It is likely that many schools will close on the 30th November, this information will be available from your school or the council. If your school closed on 30th June, expect it to be closed again, as NUT and ATL are out on strike again, and this time NASUWT and NAHT (the head teachers union) are also balloting for strike.

On 30th November, join the biggest strike since the 1926 general strike.

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Public Meeting: Support the November 30th Strikers – They Strike for All of Us

Thursday November 24th, 7pmat the Council House, Victoria Square, B1 1BB
Speakers:
Christine Blower (General Secretary NUT)
Joe Morgan (Regional Secretary GMB)
Paul Mackney (Ex. General Secretary UCU)
Sian Ruddick (PCS Midlands Chair)
James Anthony (UNISON University Hospital Chair)
Edd Bauer (National Executive Committe, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts)
Sarah Barton (Bournville School anti-academy campaign)

Chaired by Bryan Nott (Kings Heath and Moseley Labour Party)

Please attend our Facebook Event, and invite your friends to let them know this event is happening

The coalition is destroying our welfare state. It is privatising the NHS and slashing services to youth, old people, the poor and the disabled. The rest of us suffer with loss of jobs or cuts in real pay of up to 10%.
Their latest attack is on public sector workers’ pensions.
These are among the lowest in Europe and fully funded by workers contributions. The real scandal is that private employers have been allowed to provide even lower pensions or no pension at all.

The unions say the pensions changes will leave them working longer, paying more and getting less when they retire. Contributions to the scheme will rise, by up to £1,250 / year for teachers, whilst the retirement age will be increased and pensions payments reduced, firstly by moving from RPI to CPI to calculate increases, and secondly by changing from a final salary scheme to a career average scheme.

Hamstead Hall School Picket on 30th June

At our public meeting on May 26th, Doug Morgan from NUT spoke about public sector pensions, debunking some of the myths surrounding “gold-plated” pensions. The average public sector pension is around £4,000 per year. He also argued that the only thing maintaining private sector pensions (which he described as awful) were the public sector pensions (described as OK).Like the teachers, other public sector workers are taking industrial action over changes to the pension scheme, which will see them contribute more, work longer and get less once they retire.

Cuts to pensions form just one part of the attack on public services being carried out by this government, and this action is taken in the context of the austerity agenda being foisted on this country by an ideological government committed to neo-liberalism and a small state, and perfectly happy to let vulnerable people fend for themselves instead of us all working together to provide the best life for everyone.

30th June Strike rally

The right wing press have already been running articles designed to soften the support for these strikes. They portray strikers as selfish public sector workers, who have already got it so goodbut aren’t content with that. They compare the “gold-plated” public sector pensions (average around £4,000 per year) to the poor private sector provision.We need to be prepared to defend striking workers here – not in terms of the workers, but in terms of everyone else.

These strikes are being undertaken to defend services – an attack on the pay and conditions of public sector workers is an attack on the services themselves, as reducing the rewards for a job disincentivises it. We need to be arguing against making this a race to the bottom when we hear people talking about how public sector pensions are so great and why should they have it so good when the rest of us are suffering. And it is clearly not fair that public sector workers often have better pensions than private sector workers – but the answer to that is not to make public sector pensions worse, it is to improve private sector pensions.

Public sector workers are striking for all of us on November 30th. The resistance is growing:
March 26 demonstration 500,000
June 30th strikes 1,000,000
November 30th strikes 3,000,000
Next year? 20,000,000 ?
The coalition can be beaten. There is an alternative.
Support the strike.
Leaflets are available, email BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com if you would like some to deliver.

You can download and print an A4 poster advertising the event here
We will be organising many leafleting events to build for this meeting, and for the strike on 30th November.
More details about the strike day itself will become available as unions announce their ballot results and plans get put into place.

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As more bad economic news comes out, unions prepare to strike for the alternative

Over the past week, the ONS has released economic data concerning inflation and unemployment, and the news is not good.
Inflation is now at 5.2% (RPI), meanwhile, wages have risen by 2.8% on average, meaning a real terms pay cut of 2.4% – and to be honest, I don’t know anyone whose wages have risen, most are facing pay freezes (or for local council workers, pay cuts).
Unemployment rose by 80,000 in the past 3 months, taking the total to 2.51million, a rate of 7.9%. Youth unemployment has now topped 20% – and locally, the figures are even worse. Osborne claimed that the private sector would more than replace public sector job losses – but actually, the private sector is creating just 1 job for every 2.7 public sector jobs lost. For women, we now have the highest level of unemployment since 1988.

Taking the figures for the Birmingham parliamentary constituencies (which does not include Sutton Coldfield, Solihull or the black country), the unemployment rate is 8.2%, but again the average hides the reality, which is that some areas have far worse levels on unemployment than others, with Ladywood having an unemployment rate of 12.2%..
Even this does not tell the full story, as male unemployment is 16.7%, whilst female unemployment is 7.5% – This discrepancy is – I think – because there are many more women who are economically inactive but not claiming benefits, and this hides the true rate of unemployment. These figures only include benefit claimants.
It also will not include all those who are working part time because they are unable to find full time work.
(Source for local figures is the Guardian datablog)

I cannot find breakdown for youth unemployment in the West Midlands, but given the rate is 20% nationally, and Birmingham has some of the highest levels of unemployment in the UK, I think we can assume that locally the youth unemployment rate will be even higher than that – something which this government should be ashamed of, and a fact that should never be forgotten when asking why young people rioted in August.
With growth flattening, and estimates of future growth being revised downwards time and time again, the need for an alternative to the governments destructive and ideologically driven austerity measures becomes clearer and clearer. You can explore the alternatives on False Economy, or in our (far from complete) Alternatives to the Cuts series of posts.

For this reason, it is good news that the TUC has said there will be co-ordinated strike action by 14 public sector trade unions on 30th November. PCS, NUT, ATL and UCU already have ballots given authorisation for strike action, whilst 10 other unions – including Unison, Unite, GMB, Nasuwt and the FBU will ballot for strike action.
The ballot for strike action is over cuts to pensions, which will see public sector workers working longer and paying more to get less.
The aim of these pension cuts are to reduce the deficit – the extra money received will be used to pay off debt. These strikes are part of the wider struggle against the austerity policies of this government, and must be seen as such.
You can also come out to the demonstration on Sunday at the Liberal Democrat conference to join us calling for the alternative.

The economic figures that come out month after month show that this governments policies are failing, and we all need to get behind the public sector unions (whether we are public sector, private sector or workless) because we need an alternative, or we will all face harder and harder economic times.

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