Tag Archives: June 30th

Mass Strikes in Birmingham on 30th June

UNISON today announced that it’s council workers will be on strike on the 30th, this is shaping up to be the largest strike in recent history.

We have already reported that teachers and civil servants voted for strikes in national ballots that could see over 500,000 public sector workers on strike over pensions.  The best way to keep up with what is happening around the country is J30strike.org or on twitter as @J30Strike.

Locally the strike is set to be huge, with the addition of up to 9,000 council workers.  As well as that UCU members at Birmingham City University and in the Birmingham Adult Education Service have previously been balloted for strike and will join in on the 30th June.

I will be endeavouring to get a list of pickets and other activities around Birmingham on the 30th, and mapping them out on this page

There will be a huge, regional, strike rally in Birmingham, assembling at 12noon in Victoria Square.  Invite people to the facebook event.  Strikers from around the West Midlands will come to the city centre of Birmingham for the rally, with workers in Wolverhampton holding a rally from 10:45-11:15am and then coming into Birmingham en masse.

 

With so many workers on strike, this rally should number in the thousands, and will march around the city centre.

Kevin Courtney (NUT) will speak at the J30 rally

Speakers at the rally include Kevin Courtney (Deputy General Secratary of the NUT), Hugh Lanning (Deputy General Secretary of PCS) and Michael McNeil (UCU Head of HE).  We expect to have confirmation on speakers from ATL and UNISON as well.  There will also be local speakers from all the unions involved and someone from Birmingham Against the Cuts.

We call for everyone who can to attend the rally.  If you work, can you book a day of annual leave, or come an join us in your lunch hour?  If you are a student, benefit claimant, pensioner, parent or anyone else who is not working on that day, come and attend.  Make this about the cuts, and austerity in general and not just about the specific strike actions on that day.  This strike is part of the anti-cuts movement – obviously and directly in the case of UNISON, and although the pensions question has been ongoing since before the crisis, the way in which the ConDem’s are seeking to change public sector pensions (whilst leaving MPs’ pensions alone of course) fits directly with the austerity programme, and the wider anti-public services ideology that pervades this coalition.

hugh lanning (PCS) will speak at the J30 rally

Show the strikers that they have your support.  I will by posting a post sometime this week with more of the arguments as to why public sector worker pensions should matter to private sector workers, or people who don’t work.  You can read some of it in the posts about the Teachers and Civil Servants strike decision.

In the case of UNISON it’s pretty simple – huge cuts in pay and big changes in condition for workers cannot improve the services provided by the council, who are also cutting funding by a whopping £212million this year.  As council services degrade, the ideology of the ruling parties suggest to me that they will look to outsource those services to the private sector, probably with similar results to the childrens homes (in short: costs more for a worse service).

They are striking to defend public services.  The dispute they can raise is about pensions, pay and terms and conditions.  With attacks on the unions coming from politicians, it is important that we show the strikers that they have our support.  So parents, if your school is closing on the 30th June, why not bring your kids along to the rally.

 

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Events, strike

Council Workers vote YES to strikes

UNISON members working for Birmingham City Council have voted to take strike action over changes to pay and conditions which if implemented could see workers losing as much as £6,000 per year.

75% of workers voted to strike, on a turnout of 30%.  This is a higher turnout than the last strike ballot by unison, and with the 3/4 majority vote is a solid mandate for action.  Unison have not yet announced what actions will take place.

For further background on the reasons for the ballot, see this post.

Previously, we have heard that they were planning strikes on the 29th and 30th.  Assuming they do call strikes on the 30th, they will join Teachers and Civil Servants for a huge regional strike rally, assembling at 12 noon in Victoria Square in Birmingham.

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Handsworth Against the Cuts Activites

Handsworth Against the Cuts will be out campaigning again this Saturday 18th June. We’ll have a stall outside the library on the Soho Road between 11 and 1. We’ll have leaflets to help build the strikes on 30th June, as well as petitions and leaflets for our own public meeting. All welcome, whether you can stay to help on the stall or want to come and chat and take some leaflets for your workplace or community group.
On 30th June, we’ll be helping support local picket lines then strikers and supporters will come together on the way down to the rally in town. We’ll post more details nearer the date.
Our public meeting to discuss campaigning against the local cuts is on Wednesday 6th July, 7.30 pm at St Andrews Sports and Community Centre, corner of Church Lane and College Road. Our speakers include Pete Christie, local Unison steward, Sian Ruddick of PCS, Alliya Stennet from City College UCU and Rick Hatcher of the Anti-Academies campaign.

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Civil Servants Vote YES to strike

Civil servants in PCS union have voted yes to strike action, and will be joining teachers who declared their ballot result yesterday, for a day of strike action on the 30th June.

61% voted in favour of strikes, with 83% voting in favour of action short of a strike.  This is an excellent mandate for action, although it falls short of the 92% yes vote from NUT members.  It shows us that the mood for resistance is their amongst public sector workers.

In Birmingham, we wait now for the result from Unison who are balloting 9,000 council workers for strikes on the 29th and 30th June to find out just how big the strike will be on that day locally.

Like the teachers, PCS members 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.

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.

Thise 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.

The cuts are not inevitable.  There are alternatives.  These strikes are part of the wider  struggle against austerity and need to be seen as such.  The money is around, the wealthiest thousand people continued to rack up wealth last year, whilst working class people lose jobs and face pay freezes or cuts, and welfare reforms that seek to be removing the final safety nets in our society.  We need to resist the cuts and make sure that the agenda changes.  Join us on the 30th June to continue this struggle.

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Stockland Green Against The Cuts

Another local group has formed to fight cuts happening in their area.  Stockland Green joins other local groups around the city to organise in their community.

On Wednesday 15th June, they will hold a public meeting, at the Baptist Church, George Road, near Marsh Hill, Erdington.

The meeting begins at 7pm, and is being jointly held with the NUT.

Doug Morgan Speaking at the Mayday Rally

Doug Morgan from Birmingham NUT will talk about schools and the pensions changes and strike.  All teachers and residents welcomed to participate in the discussion following the address by Doug.The Con-Dems attacks on ordinary people’s living standards are meeting increasing resistance from organisations like ours, and, importantly, trade unions.

On 30th June teachers, job centre workser, civil servants, lecturers and benefits advisors in the NUT, ATL, UCU and PCS unions are set to defend pensions and public services.

Both issues should be important to us all.

Firstly, pensions. Already pensions are being cut as the Government lowers the inflation increases by moving from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Worsening public sector pensions will make it easier to cut private sector workers pensions.  Therfore we call on everyone to support the teacher’s strike to defend their own pensions – their fight is ours.

Secondly, public services.  We see the Tories wanting to cut and privatise all of the services that we hold dear. In education, the axing of the schools replacement proramme means many working class children will continue to learn in conditions not fit for the job.  The attempt to privatise our schools through Academies and free schools will also remove education from local authority and democratic control. On top of this the removal of EMA, cutting courses and increasing tuition fees will price many children out of college and university.

500,000 people protested against cut sin London in March. Now the unions are organising against the Con Dem plans.  SGAC supports the actions and will be holding this meeting on 15th June at 7pm, at the Baptist Chruch, George Road, Erdington.  Please go along and be part of fighting back against Con Dem plans.

For details contact Ron Dorman on 0121 373 6846

 

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30th June Strikes

On 30th June, we will see huge strikes taking place by public sectors workers.  Teaching unions NUT and ATL, and the civil service union PCS have voted YES to strike action on the 30th.  In Birmingham, UNISON are balloting their council workers for strikes on the 29th and 30th.

On the 30th, there will be a strike rally, assembling at Victoria Square at 12noon, with a march around the centre back to a rally, also in Victoria square.

We think it is important to stand up for our children’s education in schools, council services, our local colleges and our civil service too.
Council workers, Teachers, Lecturers and Civil Servants (who do everything from collecting taxes, serving our courts and providing a service to unemployed workers in jobcentres) all provide vital services to people in our city.
At the moment the government is trying to rob them of their pension. We are often told that public service workers have gold plated pensions and because people are living longer they are not sustainable, but this is not true.
It is the banking crisis at fault, not public sector workers. The government bailed out the banks over a trillion pounds and rather than get the money back from them, they are making US ALL pay.

What is worse is that there is over £120 billion in taxes which remain unpaid, evaded or avoided, by the rich.
It is very unfair the government wants to raid public sector pensions by cutting them by a third, increasing the pension age to 68 and making workers pay 50% more for it. This is the pension fund of people who have worked all of their lives to educate our children, help people find work and keep us safe.

If the taxes were collected from the rich there would be no need to be any cuts at all. That is why we urge you to support the public sector strike on the 30th June.

Printed leaflets are available to collect from the Unison offices, or you can download and print them yourselves from our resources page.

We will be doing a lot of leafletting in the run up to the 30th, please get in contact if you can help us – either email BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or contact the local group if there is one in your area

If you are on facebook, attend the facebook event and invite your friends.

If you are not in one of the balloting unions, can you book annual leave on the 30th to show solidarity with strikers and join us at the strike rally? This could become a huge show of resistance to the cuts, and perhaps spark an upsurge in union activity heading into the autumn.

 

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PCS prepare to ballot for Strikes

(c) Geoff Dexter-Sherbourne Productions

Yesterday we posted about possible strikes in the education sector over pensions.  Teachers are not the only public sector workers to be affected by changes in pensions, and PCS are also balloting for strike action.

Like the teachers, this ballot on pensions is being conducted against the backdrop of spending cuts and redundancies in the civil service.

At a recent protest, Andrew Lloyd from PCS said

Since the cuts have been announced, we’ve lost 600 civil service jobs in Birmingham.  As well as the lost services, we estimate the impact to the Birmingham economy is around £20 million, which is why we’re lobbying people today to give ministers a hard time, and to encourage one and all to join the campaign and vote Yes for PCS industrial action in June

More than a quarter of a million civil and public servants could be balloted for strike over cuts to pensions, jobs and pay.

PCS are talking to other unions to co-ordinate strike action, and June 30th is looking a likely date for nationwide co-ordinated strike action between PCS and the teaching unions who are also balloting for strike action. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS said:

At least half a million people marched for the alternative on 26 March, and now we are saying we must be prepared to strike for the alternative.

We are talking to other unions and will seek to ensure that any action we take has the widest possible support to put the maximum pressure on the government to end its ideological attacks on people who everyone acknowledges did nothing to cause the recession.

Locally, Unison will ballot for strike action by council workers during May and sources have indicated that they will try to co-ordinate their strikes with unions, though they are not sure if they will be able to.

Royal College of Nursing has "no confidence" in Andrew Lansley

All the major health unions (RCN, BMA Unison and Unite) have indicated a willingness to strike over pay and with both RCN and BMA passing motions of no confidence in Andrew Lansley and his NHS reforms perhaps these unions will find a way to join in with the strikes on June 30th

Nationally June 30th could see up to a million workers on strike – locally the city could be shut down with council workers, teachers and civil servants all on strike.

It is important that people come onto the streets on Saturday for Birmingham’s Mayday demonstration, to show solidarity with workers who will vote on strike action in May, so that they know they have the support of their community as they head towards taking industrial action to defend their jobs, pensions and working conditions.

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