Saturday, 6 February 2010

bring your pots and pans!

Birmingham City Council is planning vicious job cuts. Up to 1400 jobs could go, many of them very low paid. Staff at our nurseries, leisure services, neighbourhood offices and libraries are under threat.
One of the reasons the council is in a financial mess is because of money wasted on consultants. Another £67 million is to be spent this year alone. A council spokesperson has dismissed concerns about this extraordinary waste of money. It is ‘a drop in the ocean’ they say, in the context of a £3 billion budget. I would like to see them say that to community groups in my ward starved of funding, or families stuck for years on housing waiting lists because the council is not building enough homes.
These cutbacks will be justified as essential belt-tightening. But City Council Chief Executive, Stephen Hughes, enjoyed an 18.2% pay increase between 2006/7 and 2007/8 and is on a very nice £3,900 per week. The Birmingham Post reported that he’s now a member of the “£200,000+ per year club”. Council bosses should get a taste of their own medicine.
All the more reason to apply as much pressure as possible in advance of the council meeting that will set the annual budget. A number of local trade unions have called for a protest, and they want to make it a noisy one, so bring your pots and pans!

See you there.

Protest at Council Cuts, Tuesday 23 February, 4pm – 6pm, Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square. Called by UNISON, UNITE, GMB, UCATT, AMICUS.

Photo: Balsall Heath dinner ladies