My message of support to Birmingham’s bin workers:
“I am appalled that Birmingham City Council proposes to cut the pay of experienced grade 3 Bin workers by 20%, a pay cut of £4,000 – £5,000. It is a particular irony that this is happening at a time when even the Tories are making some concessions on public sector pay – for example making moves to remove the 1% pay rise limit.
On a personal note I was delighted when a sensible deal was struck with Unite on August 15th – which happens to be my birthday! It is shocking that the Council, instead of adhering to the agreement, arrogantly chose to default on it, unnecessarily prolonging the dispute. And a Labour council at that. Betraying not just the bin workers, but the residents of Birmingham.
As a health professional I am also concerned about the dangerous situation for public health. Both in terms of sanitation issues with rubbish piling up on our streets, as well as the mental stress the unpleasant environment is causing to individuals and families.
However this struggle highlights the importance of solidarity and trade union collective bargaining rights. The battle now is not just about removing the rubbish from our streets, but removing the rubbish attitude in our Council leadership, which instead of resisting cruel Tory cuts, has acquiesced to managing them. I therefore call on people from all Birmingham communities to support the Bin workers in their battle to defend their living standards. A win for them is a win for all of us.”