Here we reproduce the text of an A5 leaflet that we have been including on our regular campaigning stalls around Brum, explaining to the public the issues at stake in the strike, and why the binworkers deserve their support.
Reasons to support your local Bin workers
The council are trying to IMPOSE job losses and significant pay cuts on Bin workers.
There are more households, more people and more rubbish being collected in less hours and the council want even less hours in more unsafe conditions – unsafe both for the public and workers.
When the service moved from black bags to wheelie bins, crews were cut from 5 to 3. A driver, (with a big vehicle in often tight spaces) a loader and a second loader who takes extra responsibility for safety at the back and side of the wagon. (they are not non-working ‘supervisors’ as implied by the Evening Mail). The Council want to abolish that role and cut workers pay.
Bin workers have already had 2 pay cuts since 2008. With more cuts one can see why workers feel so strongly and got to the point of voting to strike. Workers are trying to stand up to this bullying
Rather than talk to unions, management have sent intimidatory letters to the homes of workers and are paying costly agency staff to pick up the backlog. Why not simply stop pay cuts and let our workforce work?
The council mis-budgeted: Budgeting only for picking up wheelie bins not all the other rubbish from our streets. So they overspent on the wheelie bin scheme and on hundreds of expensive agency workers. (Agency workers aren’t paid more, its agencies that benefit. Agency workers are often bullied to work more unsafely.) That meant they ’overspent’ and are now trying to make workers pay for a crisis caused by government cuts and their mismanagement. Workers want all agency workers to have full time, proper jobs.
Workers offered ideas on how to make the service more efficient, but management ignored them and imposed their cuts.
Workers feel that the constant attacks on their jobs, pay and working conditions are setting up the service for privatisation. The confrontational approach and ‘dirty tricks’ of the Council merely convinces them the more so.
Government demanded £650m cuts in Brum. Half the workforce were made redundant and health and safety checks are not carried out as often – and we’ve seen what that leads to at Grenfell Tower
Since the general election even Tory cabinet members are now saying they reject austerity. Why won’t Labour councillors? Pushing workers to strike and trying to undermine them is more like Maggie Thatcher against the miners than Jeremy Corbyn.
Workers are not responsible for the problem and Birmingham’s streets will not get any cleaner by imposing these attacks on them. The council need to invest in the workforce and in our city and demand that Central Government provide the funds to do so.
The mess on our streets after just 2 hour strikes shows that the job they do is vital, just like nurses, firefighters and all those being made to pay for the mess caused by greedy bankers.
Like all of us, Bin workers have the right to safe working conditions and not having their wages slashed. We need to support one another against these kind of attacks that are being made on so many of us.