The 1st of September saw Birmingham’s bin workers out on strike again, after council chief exec Stella Manzie went over the heads of elected councillors and scrapped the previously agreed deal to keep Grade 3 jobs.
Many workers at Perry Barr saw the Council’s decision to issue redundancy notices before the planned Cabinet meeting that day had even taken place as a declaration of all out war by Council bosses on their workforce. One worker commented: “this isn’t about saving money, this is a politically fuelled attack, and the bosses are determined to do whatever it takes to break us”
Meanwhile at Digbeth, pickets made no bones about this looking like being a struggle to the end, and a must win one. As one said: “it’s obvious what they’re (BCC bosses) are trying to do – get rid of the Grade 3 loaders, so that they can come back and knock the drivers down to that pay band later. And then if they force that on us, what’s to stop them trying on similar stuff with other parts of the workforce?”
In any case, it looks like Birmingham residents are seeing through the Council’s recklessness in dragging out this dispute and going back on it’s promises – at least if the increased number of beeping horns outside Tyseley is anything to go by. What’s vital is that the union steps up the publicity campaign to explain to the public what’s at stake here for workers and the public, both through the media, online, and hopefully with the holding of public rallies/protests.