The council bosses paid more than £100,000 who try to charge £50m for four street bollards

These are the faces of some of Birmingham city council’s best paid employees.  Jonathon Chew (Assistant Chief Exec), Jacqui Kennedy (Director of Neighbourhoods) and Dawn Baxendale the present Chief Exec.

It was revealed in The Times this week that Birmingham has 28 employees earning more than £100,000 a year, and a significant number who are on more than the Prime Minister.

The Taxpayers Alliance found that more than 600 council workers across the country are on such sums, with the highest paid Chief Exec in the country on £595,077! They have compiled a Town Hall Rich List, and Birmingham sits in 4th place! The Alliance says,

“…the town hall rich list also showcases the executives who have overseen failing departments or received bumper pay-offs after poor performance in the job.”

Thats a fitting description of many of those paid off by Labour-run Birmingham city council. Jacqui Kennedy, one of those on the gross (in every sense of the word) salaries earns in excess of £100,000 a year and will be remembered for her sterling efforts in wasting £6 million of taxpayers money during the bin strike in 2017, whilst Dawn Baxendale was at the same trick again this year, wasting a similar amount on another war on council workers, waged in tandem with the local Labour party who are ideologically hell bent on displaying their anti-worker credentials to the banks, tories and corporate media in the hope they can win the next general election (despite betraying Brexit)!

 

John O’Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last 20 years and spending has gone through the roof.

“Disappointingly, many local authorities are now responding to financial reality through further tax rises and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay.

“There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”

The Local Government Association said: “Senior pay is always decided by democratically elected councillors in an open and transparent way.”

Fall out amongst thieves

Having privatised all that they can get their hands on (nearly), Birmingham city council has been trying to charge private contractors Amey (who they appointed to maintain the roads) the best part of £50 million for a few road bollards.

The £50m bollards

Neil Jonston reported “The city council has been accused of holding “its own road network hostage” after apparently charging Amey, a highways company, £58,000 a day for a delay in repairing two sets of bollards designed to prevent drivers from swerving around speed bumps.

The council said that the contractor had put road users in danger by taking months to carry out the repairs on a quiet residential street. Amey has not been paid by the council since 2017, when officials withheld monthly payments for work after issuing fines running into millions for delays in repairing bollards, lamp posts and potholes.

The bill for the delay on the bollards in a parking strip on Westwood Road, Witton, has reached £48.5 million according to Amey, after the contractor took a year to carry out the first repair and seven months to fix the second set. The initial penalty was £250 but because the council said the repair should be treated as a category one defect, meaning it was an emergency and posed danger, it doubled every hour.

The council is also said to have billed Amey £12 million for a pothole and £14 million for adding cable ties to three lamp posts, which the council called unnecessary “cosmetics”.”

Only under capitalism could such madness prevail and yet we are led to believe by all the main political voices that such idiocy drives the economy, creates growth and is the sign of a functioning, competitive society. Such drivel could only fool the deaf, dumb, blind and wilfully ignorant.

Only a planned economy, a socialist system, can get rid of the burden upon the poor of such ludicrous and wasteful excesses as inflated salaries for failing bureaucrats and multi million pound potholes.

Get in touch to put an end to the madness:

MP’s to enjoy 2.7% pay rise from today

MP pay rise

MP’s vote themselves another pay rise

The British government and the pen pushers sat in parliament claim to represent us, but are little more than the executive committee of the ruling classes (bourgeoisie). Once again they have again shown the people of Britain utter contempt by awarding themselves another pay rise at a time of austerity!

Whilst working men and women queue at food banks up and down the length of our country, nearly four million children are at risk of malnutrition and 8 million households are food insecure (meaning they cannot afford decent and healthy foods) these piglets at the trough act as though they can go on feasting on the blood, sweat and tears of our country.

Pay for MP’s up 2.7%!

The new pay rise announced brings the total wage package for MP’s from £77,379 to a whopping £79,468, a 2.7%. there has been an increase almost every year from 2010 to 2019, this increase is said to account for inflation and brings the total increase in the last 9 years to £13,730 (IPSA, 2019), whilst on the other hand public sector workers have had nearly a decade of pay freeze, with at best a total 2.2% wage increase this year (Ons.gov.uk, 2019), which is below the inflation rate. This means wages have been falling for hundreds of thousands of workers, so why is there a pay rise for MP’s? As ever we the British people must tighten our belts and soldier on with a stiff upper lip, toe the line and not complain whilst British children suffer malnutrition and we see a return of Victorian era diseases such as rickets, leading to bone deformities.

Could one argue that surely our leaders deserve a good wage for a job well done considering the great strides they’re taking to deliver on the mandate of the British people and implement a full brexit?! Perhaps the management of the NHS, our wonderful health service?! Well, how about the affordable council housing being built, wait… not at all! Those who are are njoyting the high life are the MP’s and the thousands of landlords and privateers benefitting from spiralling rents, inflated house prices, speculation on the markets and privatisation in health, education and utilities. It’s high time we followed in the footsteps of the French people and not only tell Parliament enough (!), but show them just what that means.

If you’re fed up with the state of things and want a better life and future for your children and loved ones, as all fair minded working people do, then contact the Birmingham Worker and demand a dignified life, safety for our children, respect for those who work hard and nothing for the parasites who make our lives miserable.

 

Sources

Foodfoundation.org.uk. (2019). Children’s Future Food Inquiry – Food Foundation. [online] Available at: https://foodfoundation.org.uk/childrens-future-food-inquiry/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2019].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salaries_of_Members_of_the_United_Kingdom_Parliament

IPSA. (2019). MPs’ Pay and Pensions – IPSA. [online] Available at: http://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/mps-pay-and-pensions/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2019].

Savage, M. and Lee, D. (2019). ‘I regularly see rickets’: diseases of Victorian-era poverty return to UK. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/23/poorer-children-disproportionately-need-hospital-treatment [Accessed 11 Mar. 2019].

Ons.gov.uk. (2019). Understanding average earnings for the continuously employed – Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/articles/understandingaverageearningsforthecontinuouslyemployed/2015-05-18#introduction [Accessed 11 Mar. 2019].

JLR job cuts, the car industry, robots and future prospects for jobs

jlr job losses_brexit

Job cuts ruin lives

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 186,000 workers are directly engaged in manufacturing jobs in the British car industry, with 856,000 workers to be found in the wider industry, from sales executives to garage mechanics. It’s an industry worth a whopping £82bn (turnover), but the global crisis of overproduction means that there are many more cars sitting on forecourts than can be sold, and fewer workers with the cash to buy them.

Automation

In a research paper entitled the ‘Digitalisation of the automotive industry’ in 2016, KPMG and the SMMT outlined that “By fully embracing digitalisation, the automotive sector stands to gain £6.9bn every year by 2035. The cumulative total benefit to the economy could be £74bn by 2035. This is a significant prize…”

This future world has a sensor on every box to inform another sensor (hundreds of miles away) that it needs to start 3D printing a few more plastic plugs. Other sensors will note when the new plugs are ready and a photo electric sensor somewhere in Slovakia will then despatch a robot-controlled Google-driven lorry to bring those parts ‘just in time’. Sensors on robots, and no doubt sensors on people, will be able to ensure that profits are maximised and with all these sensors organising production and many robots actually undertaking the production process itself, there won’t be much room left for working men and women. With more workers forced out of work, there will be less money coming in to buy the things the sensors are churning out. The prisons will be bursting and, in the words of Lord Byron, workers will be

nefariously guilty of lawfully begetting children whom, thanks to the times, they are unable to maintain’.”

`Time to face it, capitalism must go

The drive for profit is leading to the wholesale impoverishment of the human race. In its drive for maximum profits, mankind is overproducing all the things it does not need. Rather than plan production in a rational way so as to ensure a constantly rising standard of material and cultural existence, the chaos of private production threatens the survival of our species and the planet. The struggle against capitalism is a struggle between the working classes and the capitalist class. This struggle has now raged for more than two hundred years.

In the 18th century British workers were faced with a similar threat from technology. Our recent ancestors were thrown out of work, out of factories and mills with the introduction of new technology and their response was to attack this technology, to smash it up and destroy it. These workers were known as Luddites and they led a fierce and heroic battle with the police, army, manufacturers and government. In Nottinghamshire weavers who made frames for the manufacture of trousers (stockings) faced death for struggling to protect their livelihoods. The struggle led the great poet Byron to write,

Men are more easily made than machinery –

Stockings fetch better prices than lives –

Gibbets on Sherwood will heighten the scenery,

Showing how Commerce, how Liberty thrives!

 

For all the heroism of our ancestors, they were ultimately unsuccessful in that struggle. History teaches us that to protect jobs and for dignity of labour we must direct our blows towards the capitalist class and not just its property. This class of parasites do not work but collect through dividends, shares and taxes the wealth produced by the working class.

Our working class should draw inspiration from the workers of France who have so militantly expressed their outrage these last few months with the protests of the yellow vests. Occupations, strikes, blockades, disruption of the capitalist system of profit making is the only way to extract concessions from the ruling class. In tandem with this rebellion must be the building up of the forces of the communists, the advanced section of the workers which understands that it is necessary to turn the economic crisis into an all-out political rebellion. The aim of the communists must be the armed insurrection of the working people, for the seizure of state power. Britain today is sleepy and the British working class is idle and silent in the face of the abuses it is suffering; but if Donald Trump can appreciate that the fierce competition between the capitalists themselves creates the conditions for the national security of the US imperialists to be threatened, then we can take some consolation from their discomfort.

Its time to fight for a different future, get in touch with us to lend your support:

Meeting this Friday: Socialism in China, report from CPGB-ML delegation

China report back_mar 2019In February a three person delegation from the CPGB-ML travelled to China to participate in the 27th Wanshou Forum. Whilst in China our delegates had lengthy discussions with the Communist Party of China and visited workplaces and historic sites associated with the communist revolution. We also took the opportunity to meet up with the Honorary President of the CPGB-ML, comrade Isabel Crook.

Isabel Crook

CPGB-ML delegates with Party President Isabel Crook

One speech by a CPGB-ML delegate is already online and can be read here: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/05/news/theory/chinese-forum-discusses-humanitys-shared-future/ . This meeting is an opportunity to hear first hand from one of the delegates, Ed Renyard, National Organiser of the CPGB-ML.

 

Council Tax to go up nearly 5% this April

council tax rise 2019.jpg

Council Tax to go up nearly 5% this April

This April Birmingham resident’s will see Council Tax up by 4.99%. That will mean at least £70 for many households.

The Labour council takes no responsibility for its mismanagement of the city finances. Below is an idea of how much Birmingham’s workers are going to be expected to pay, and a few examples of how the Council has spent our money so far in 2019.

Council Tax 2019-20

  • Band A is £1,062.67
  • Band B is £1,239.77
  • Band C is £1,416.88
  • Band D is £1,594.00
  • Band E is £1,948.23
  • Band F is £2,302.44
  • Band G is £2,656.67
  • Band H is £3,188.00

Money wasted

In the recent dispute with bin men Birmingham city council spent money rewarding those who worked during the 2017 strike, these payments were ‘secret’. When the news broke the Council spent £1.45million on legal advice to defend their position rather than apologising and settling quickly. They even attempted to prevent workers going on strike by taking them to the courts in London, and losing!

Determined to have a war with workers at any cost the Council paid £2.6 million to private contractors to clean up the city whilst they dragged the bin men through legal proceedings. In the end the Council have had to come to the negotiating table at a total cost of £5.85 million!

Birmingham has a council who say they need to make another £46m in savings this year, who have announced another 1,000 job losses by 2023 and have the temerity to take another 5% off hard-pressed residents.

Unless workers get organised they can expect to be well and truly rinsed by Labour party careerists and money grabbing privateers.

 Get in touch with Birmingham Worker and fight for socialism:

 

 

Birmingham in Top 50 cities to live in

The Birmingham Mail proudly declares Birmingham in the Top 50 cities to live in, worldwide. In a piece sandwiched between a story about hour-long traffic delays and another concerning a woman being shot, the Mail notes with a straight face that Birmingham is rated higher than Damascus in Syria and Bhagdad in Iraq.

Reading the Mail any day of the week you could be forgiven for thinking we lived in an actual war zone like Damascus, where terrorists sent by Britain and aided by our secret services (many of them from Birmingham) have been terrorising the population. But despite daily stories in the Mail of stabbings, muggings, robberies, burglaries, beatings and muggings, Birmingham remains a decent place to live, and if we ever manage to replace the arrogant anti working class Labour politicians running the Council we’ll take a huge step towards making our city genuinely one of the best places to live in the world.

Read the Mail piece here: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-one-best-places-live-15962778 https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-one-best-places-live-15962778

Birmingham solidarity with Venezuela

We held a successful meeting in solidarity with revolutionary Venezuela on 19 February in Birmingham. The meeting was well attended and heard from leading Venezuelan trade union leader Marcos Garcia, and Helena Menendez of the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Introducing the meeting for Birmingham Worker our comrade said,

“The recent escalation of US aggression against Venezuela has been dressed up in the language of ‘human rights’, ignoring, as ever, the fact that human rights abuses by or on behalf of the government are as imaginary as were the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq.

The real nature of US imperialism’s concept of human rights was demonstrated by the country’s psychopathic national security adviser, John Bolton who, “Perhaps most brazenly … appeared in an interview on Fox Business and disclosed that the US government was in talks with American corporations on how to capitalise on Venezuela’s oil reserves, which are proven to be the world’s largest.

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now,” he said. “I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here … It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” (see Inside John Bolton’s month-long PR campaign against Venezuela’s government)

Venezuela has foolproof election arrangements that cannot be manipulated in any way (in contrast to what those of the United States!) Yet all elections in Venezuela since the government of Hugo Chávez and his successors (aka the ‘Chavistas’) took over the government and started to use the profits of Venezuela’s oil to improve the lives of ordinary people (rather than to enrich US multinational oil companies), have been pronounced ‘fraudulent’ by the US – except the one parliamentary election that opponents of the government happened to win!

In attempting to remove Nicolás Maduro and his government, US imperialism wants new elections to be called – but only ones that it is able to manipulate to produce the results it wants.

For the last two decades, the US government and its various agencies have spent huge amounts of money trying to bolster the election prospects of Venezuela’s anti-government minority, all to no avail (which, incidentally, does not prevent it moaning on about totally fictitious Russian meddling in US elections).”

For more information read: It is imperative to halt the imperialist military adventure against Venezuela

To get in touch and participate in Venezuela solidarity work in Birmingham, fill in the form below:

Birmingham bin strike day 1

Perry Barr depot this morning

Montague pickets and Howard Beckett

Redfern road pickets

Lifford Lane all out

It was a solid start to picketing and strike action this morning as bin workers escalated their action against Birmingham city council. The Council, controlled by the local Labour party continues to set aside £350,000 a week for private contractors to enrich themselves rather than settle the dispute with Unite.

Cameras at Tyseley depot this morning are indicative of a rising sentiment of disbelief that the cash strapped council remains so insistent in pursuing it’s mad policy. The media reports will be watched attentively by all those in the labour movement.

Solidarity with the striking workers will be key to winning the dispute.

To get involved with our campaigning work in defence of the bin men, leave your details below:

Cllr Majid Mahmood resignation as Labour wages war on the bin men.

labour stab worker in the back

Confirmed reports today are that Cllr Mahmood has resigned as Cabinet member for waste and that the Labour led city-council plan to seek a court order against industrial action by both Unite and Unison in an attempt to batter the workers into submission.

Cllr Mahmood today tweeted:

cllr mahmood resignation

If indeed he has stepped down, it will be sad for many to see Cllr Mahmood depart from the field of battle so quickly, not least because in the eyes of many bin men he had appeared so genuine in promising to resolve the dispute and fight to the very end for the workers. On reflection it looks as though his ‘socialist convictions’ have gotten the better of him and he has thrown the towel in. Now that it is clear that a real fight is on for the Birmingham bin men, Cllr Mahmood’s only reward (if he stuck to his guns) was to be political martyrdom.

Hope may yet reside in the belief that Cllr Mahmood will now expose these rotten careerists from the outside, but that has little effect on the dispute and a man that cannot challenge them from the inside has even less chance on the outside. Clancy may go, Trickett may be moved, but the Labour party is full of Ian Ward’s ready to replace them. The idea that there are Labour councillors ready to fight to the death for their trade union or socialist principles is utter clap trap as we have repeatedly seen since the strike in 2017. The only way to beat them is in battle.

Labour declaration of war

The Labour led city council today openly declared that it intends to use legislation (so-called ‘Tory legislation’ which incidentally was never taken off the statute books when the Labour party were in power) to break the bin men and their trade union. The bin men will now have to fight this battle without Cllr Mahmood (who has to prepare his bid to be Labour Mayoral candidate). Meanwhile the Labour party has to meet with its solicitors and lawyers in order to prepare the assault on trade unionism in Birmingham.

Howard Beckett (not one for waiting to consult with the membership) is reported this afternoon by Birmingham Mail as saying:

“They have made a declaration of war against their own workforce and the people of Birmingham will be affected by the decision they made today…”

“The dispute will be escalating to a full strike.”

Victory to the bin men!

A speedy end to all false hope in Labour councillors!

More info: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/live-updates-bin-collectors-set-15681091

To give us your feedback or to get involved with our campaigning work in defence of the bin men, leave your details below: