Tag Archives: Public Meeting

Mobilising Meeting and Events for Tory Conference Demo

The next mobilising meeting for the Tory Conference and TUC London demonstrations is at 6pm, Monday 20th August in the committee room, 2nd floor, Birmingham and Midlands Institute, 9 Margaret St, Birmingham, B3 3BS. Click here for accessibility information for disabled people..

Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting which will discuss activity in September to build up for the two demonstrations in October.

So far we have a number of events planned to take place in September – we want to see hundreds of trade unionists and campaigners taking part!

Saturday 8th September – Stop the attacks on disabled workers – 12 noon, the High St, Birmingham City Centre by Waterstones.

This will be a soup kitchen stunt, organised by PCS Disabled members and also a mass leafletting session.

Saturday 22nd September – Placard Protest – 12 noon, the High St, Birmingham City Centre by Waterstones.
Stunt organised Birmingham UNISON. Write your placard then join the protest to the rally, led by the Clarion singers.
Saturday 22nd September – RALLY!!!! Austerity never works … March for the Alternative! 2pm, Council House, Victoria Square. Speakers include Lee Baron (Chair, Midlands TUC); Matt Wrack (Firefighters FBU union leader); Ian Hodson (Bakers BFAWU union president) and Caroline Johnson (Birmingham Unison).

At the meeting on Monday 20th August we need to put meat on the bones for other actions/stunts in September including leafletting stations and localities.

We encourage all unionists and campaigners in Birmingham to attend the meeting on August 20th to help build for the demonstrations in October, which should see the largest opposition to the coalitions failing austerity agenda yet.



Filed under Events

Welfare & Benefits Conference in Birmingham – Tues 10th July

On Tuesday 10th July, from 9:30am – 5:30pm, there is a free conference being run by grassroots claimant group, Boycott Workfare, about welfare reforms, workfare, the attacks on our benefits system and building claimants support, advice and campaigning networks.

This will be held at the Unite the Union Building, Transport House, 211 Broad Street, B15 2AY. The building is wheelchair accessible, and children are welcome though a creche facility is not available.

The timetable for the day is this:

9:30am: Conference opens / registration

10:00 – 10:30am: Update from Public Interest Lawyers about the judicial review & legal challenge to workfare schemes.

10:30am – 11:30: Organising amongst benefit claimants. A discussion session about how claimants can organise themselves, with people from London Campaign Against Poverty (LCAP), Boycott Workfare, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Unite the Union and more sharing experiences and best practice.

11:30 – 12noon Break

12 – 1: Universal Credit, Linda Burnip (DPAC). An introduction to and discussion about the changes in the benefit system to Universal Credit

1pm-2pm: Lunch – we hope to be able to provide a vegan lunch for free and will confirm this as soon as possible.

2:00pm – 3:30pm: Practical workshop to secure Workfare, Work Programmes & Welfare Rights
run by http://www.Consent.me.uk. Learn about your rights on workfare & welfare programmes and how to exercise them to avoid forced work and other issues.

3:30pm-4pm: Break

4pm – 5:30pm: How do we break the Work Programme? Discussion session led by Boycott Workfare examining the largest workfare scheme, which pays £5bn to private workfare profiteers.

In the light of the events last week, when a man set himself on fire outside Selly Oak jobcentre, after problems with benefit payments, the second session – on organising claimant networks – and the session at 2pm – about welfare rights, and how to exercise them – seem particularly important for claimants and campaigners alike.

If any claimant is having problems with benefits, they should come to this, to meet other claimants and people who have been in similar situations. Cuts to the CAB and other advice services mean we need to ensure that informal, grassroots advice and support networks are being created.

With continuing attacks on our welfare from Ian Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling, we are likely to see more of these kinds if things happening with people pushed into desperate acts, seeing no other way to make something happen to get them the money they need to keep living. Many others will find themselves committing crime, and possibly getting criminal records, in order to make it through these times.

For campaigners against austerity and cuts, the fight for our welfare system is one that must be supported. The unemployed are being sent on workfare schemes that are failing to get people into work – A4e found jobs for just 3.5% of claimants sent on them – and which will have stopped benefits for more people than they have found work for (500,000 sanctions placed in 2011 – these will have ranged from 2 weeks to 6 months in length and left people without money for food or bills – and in some cases housing if it affected their housing benefit claim). Disabled people are being kicked off disability benefits by ATOS, employed to reduce disability benefits, using a process voted unanimously as being unfit for purpose by the British Medical Association, from which there are so many appeals that it costs the taxpayer an additional £50m every year (on a £100m contract). The low paid and part-time workers claiming benefits with start to have to prove that they are looking for better paid jobs under Universal Credit. Pensioners lose some of their winter fuel allowance as gas prices continue to climb.

And with all these problems, this government seeks to blame benefit claimants – lazy, feckless, scroungers, fakers. Hate crimes against disabled people rise. Lies get told and retold and then believed as truth. Evidence is ignored, and failing schemes are expanded to punish the poor.

At no time is recognition made that fraud in the benefit system is very low – just 0.8% or £1.1bn. Less, for instance, than the 10% rate of attempted fraud by workfare profiteers A4e and Working Links revealed in Private Eye. Lower in fact than the amount overpaid in mistakes made by the Department for Work and Pensions. If anyone has some figures telling us what % of MPs had to repay (or were convicted of fraud), it’d be interesting to know. And of course there are the tax cheats, very wealthy individuals and big businesses avoiding £25bn every year through accountancy tricks and loopholes.

Never will you hear Chris Grayling, minister for employment, admit that with 2.65 million unemployed, and 1.4 million in part time work but looking for full time work, and only 400,000 vacancies at the job centres, is it difficult for an individual to find work. There is no space for recognition that unemployment might be the fault of the economy. Nor will you hear Grant Shapps, minister for housing, suggesting that investing in new council housing would reduce housing benefit, make a profit for the taxpayer, provide a stimulus to the economy and help us meet carbon reduction targets. Instead, you have Cameron putting forward the mad idea that housing benefit should be cut for under-25s to reduce the amount currently being forked out to private landlords.

This conference is a good opportunity for us to come together with claimants and campaigners from other groups around the UK and build claimant networks to support and campaign on these issues.


Filed under Events

Why We Need a New Generation of Social Housing, and How We Achieve That – Public Meeting

On Monday 9th July at 6:30pm we will be holding a meeting with speakers and discussion looking at housing benefit cuts, the case for investment in council housing and Labour’s plans for Birmingham.
This will be held at the Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7LR. This is wheelchair accessible with accessible toilets, and children are welcome though we cannot provide a creche facility. If you have any accessibility requirements please contact us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com

Tom from Birmingham against the cuts will be talking about how a new generation of social housing provides and alternative to the cuts and to cuts in housing benefit, which threatens to make thousands homeless in Birmingham and hundreds of thousands homeless around the UK.
We will also be talking about the new Labour council’s plans for Birmingham housing. Labour have said that Birmingham needs 70,000 new houses by 2026, but have not said how this will happen.

This will be followed by around 30 minutes of discussion about the issue and what we can do about it.

After this there will be around 45 minutes for organisational and planning discussion about anti-cuts activities in Birmingham.

Please come along to this meeting, especially if you are concerned about cuts to housing benefit or the introduction of universal credit.


Filed under Events

Communities against the Cuts Public Meeting

Labour’s Plans for Birmingham and our Alternative

Wednesday 27th June. 7.30pm Cotteridge Church Centre.

Communities Against the Cuts meeting, with a speaker talking about Labour’s plans for Birmingham following the local elections where Labour took control of Birmingham City Council, and to look in detail at what the response should be.

There is the commitment to give wage rises for several thousand Council employees and the right to ask a question at full Council meetings. But there is also the decision to hold the District committees (renamed from Constituency Committees) in the Council House at 10am in the morning. So much for devolution!

Communities against the Cuts stood candidates in the recent local elections who promised to vote against public service cuts if elected.

They will also be discussing our work against academies and benefit cuts.


Filed under Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, Uncategorized

NHS Workfare demo & Save Your Railway meeting reports

Thursday was a busy day in Birmingham, with a meeting about the privatisation of police, a demonstration at Sandwell Hospital about the use of workfare labour by Sandwell and Birmingham Trust and a public meeting about cuts to railway staff and fare hike rises.

You can read about the police privatisation demo here.

Sandwell Hospital Workfare Demo

Around a dozen local residents and workfare campaign activists demonstrated outside Sandwell Hospital, where unemployed people are being forced to work for their benefits, undertaking activites such as cleaning and tidying wards and delivering food and drinks to patients.

The demonstration, called on Monday when the story was reported in the Guardian, was well supported by passers by, who expressed concerns about possible impacts on patient care from the £125m cuts faced by the trust, and the use of unpaid labour, people who the trust admitted could face the loss of benefits if they decided that the work experience at the hospital would not be useful to them, or they did not want to risk undermining someone else’s paid job by providing free labour to the organisation. Right to Work have also reported on the demonstration

You can read more about why we oppose workfare here.

Save Your Railways Meeting

A public meeting called by Birmingham Trades Council and the railway unions RMT, Unite, ASLEF and TSSA to discuss the McNulty Report and attached command paper which recommends the closure or reduction in hours of 87 out of 90 London Midland ticket offices (which includes the Centro local railway system). This comes alongside above-inflation rail fare hikes to one of the most expensive (and definitely the most confusing) ticketing systems in the world.

Many stations around Birmingham are looking at being completely unmanned, with only automatic ticket machines available for use – assuming they haven’t been vandalised. This can only lead to people getting the wrong tickets or paying more than needed. No machine can have the knowledge or skill to navigate the huge number of different tickets to ensure that railway users get the cheapest correct ticket available to them.
Having unmanned stations will also lead to increases of crime at stations and no doubt far more litter and graffiti around as well.

The situation may become so bad that the train operating companies or whoever runs the station decides they need people are at the station and get involved with workfare schemes to get free labour to replace the paid jobs, as happened with Finsbury Park London Underground Wardens.

The unions are running a campaign – Action For Rail, and you can get involved with this right now by writing to your MP – go to their site for letter templates and more details about the campaign.

You can watch Mick Cash’s talk in full for more details about the McNulty Report & command paper, and how they will affect your railway services. Start acting now before the staff get removed and ticket offices closed – they won’t be re-opened, just replaced with unpaid workfare labour at the taxpayers expense… and the private railway companies already get far more money from us than British Rail used to cost.

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Tory Party Conference – Mobilisation Meeting – 28th May

The Tories are back in Birmingham for their 2012 conference, and the Midlands TUC have announced they will be holding a demonstration on Sunday 7th October.

Today we are calling for grassroots organisations in and around Birmingham to come together and discuss what we can do over the next 5 months to get as many people from the West Midlands as possible to the demonstration, and what we can do to help pressure the TUC to make this a national demonstration against austerity.

Monday 28th May, 6pm-7pm at Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7NN.

Unemployment is rising, prices are going up, wages staying down and benefits being slashed. We’re back in recession, performing worse than the Eurozone.
The rich are getting richer and benefiting from tax cuts whilst working families see VAT and fuel prices jumping ever upwards.
And the deficit? It’s barely being reduced – £7bn off target last year, and the CBI predicting the deficit for 2012/13 will actually be bigger than 11/12 despite all the spending cuts.

Austerity isn’t working, Britain’s better off with the alternatives. That message was sent through the ballot boxes on May 3rd, now we need to make our voices even louder, and the most effective place to do that is on the streets.

This is an open meeting – we invite all groups and individuals who want to demonstrate against the ConDem coalition’s policies, and to call for the alternatives to austerity and a sustainable economic future for the UK.

We’ve got 5 months to make this the biggest demonstration since the Chartists. Let’s start building now.


Filed under Events

Save Your Railway – Public Meeting May 24th

Save your railway – public meeting, Thursday 24th May, 7pm at the Unite Offices, 211 Broad Street, B15 1AY.

Speakers include:

Bob Crow – General Secretary, RMT
Becca Kirkpatrick – Birmingham Trades Union Council

On top of rocketing energy bills, the government wants us to pay inflation busting rail fare increases of up to 30 per cent, or even more – over the next three years.

At the same time, the government’s policy calls for fewer, more overcrowded rail services, ticket office closures, the axing of tens of thousands of front-line railway staff, the break-up of Network Rail into “mini-railtracks” and reduced safety standards.

But the railway companies are being given the green light to make even bigger profits on top of the astonishing £11 billion of your money that has been drained from the industry since privatisation.

Elsewhere in Europe, railways are cheaper and more efficient because they have been kept in a unified structure in the public sector.

Come to the public meeting and discuss how we can save our railways and campaign for a rail network fit for the 21st century.

No Fare Hikes!
No Service Cuts!
Staff Our Stations!

Organised by Birmingham Trades Union Council and the rail unions.


Filed under Events

Videos from PCS Local Election Candidate Question Time

PCS held a question time session earlier this week with representatives from parties standing around Birmingham. PCS also asked candidates to sign pledges, and unsurprisingly, many of the questions are focused on cuts.


Filed under Birmingham City Council

Boycott Workfare in Kings Heath

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.

In Kings Heath, we know that Poundland are using workfare labour, and we know from workers and ex-workers around Birmingham and the UK that people are losing jobs, or having hours cut because of this. Meanwhile, less than 1 in 5 people sent on workfare placements find a job within a year, and anecdotally the evidence is that workfare placements do not lead directly to jobs, and in many cases have provided no help, or been a hindrance to jobseekers finding work. In fact, the DWP itself says that workfare is not effective.

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.

Wednesday 7th March
All Saints Centre, Kings Heath High Street/Vicarage Road
B14 7RA
Facebook Event

Venue is wheelchair accessible, including accessible toilet.
We are looking for a BSL interpreter for the meeting – please contact us if you can volunteer to do this.

Parents are welcome to bring children, but there is no seperate creche for them.

Bus stops are within 500 metres of the centre, around the traffic light junction between Alcester Road and Vicarage road, which the centre is on the corner of.

Leaflets and posters for this meeting are available to download from our resources page.

A further meeting will be held on 29th March in Birmingham City Centre, which people outside of the south of Birmingham may prefer to attend. Boycott Workfare is supported locally by Birmingham Trades Council, Birmingham Against the Cuts and IWW West Midlands.

Read more about workfare, and why we are supporting the campaign to end it.


Filed under Events, Kings Heath & Moseley Against the Cuts

Coalition of Resistance Meeting: Resisting Austerity in Europe

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Filed under Events