Bin Man wages

Binmen Stoppage; Perry Barr Depot; 21st July 2017;
Perry barr depot this morning – determined workers

The Birmingham Mail misled the public when it reported on bin man wages this week after Neil Elkes was provided with information by the Council rather than just asking a few lads on the picket lines, i.e., basic journalism. Perhaps Neil was following a legitimate line of enquiry, or maybe he’s pushing Council propaganda, perhaps the NUJ can find out. The result is that the public if not informed, might be mistaken for thinking that the bin men are on strike for more money – when they’re not. What they are opposing is a £4-6,000 pay cut, the loss of a rest day each week and the increase in workload of 1300 more households. Furthermore, constantly referring to the city council’s promise of jobs and claiming that there are therefore no redundancies hides the truth that a promise of a job isn’t a job. If Mr Elkes was told his career as a journalist was at an end but the Mail “promised” to give him the same money cleaning toilets would Mr Elkes not make a fuss and claim he was being made redundant?

Mr Elkes pens the local government stories for the Birmingham Mail and is at risk of going native. When you hang around with people who have power, even limited power like the local Councillors and bureaucrats you can end up thinking that you’re part of the club, one of the important people. A journeyman reporter on a local newspaper cannot merely regurgitate whatever is passed to them by these worthy Councillors who have a very tenous democratic mandate, it is incumbent upon a journalist to check the facts and report from the front line. After all, local journalists are themselves quite poorly paid and contrary to what they might think after attending a council bash and being given a few free sandwiches, the interests of journalists are one and the same with workers everywhere.

So, let’s ask Neil, the next time he reports on the wages of bin men, to put them into a little context and let us know who else gets what at the Council. Here’s a little list of starting salaries at Birmingham City Council to get the ball rolling:

Chief Executive £180,000

Assistant Chief Exec £80,000

Corporate Strategy Head of Service £65,000

Communications Director £75,000

Change and Support Services Strategic Director £135,000

Strategic Policy Head of Service £60,000

Performance Head of Service £50,000

Finance and Legal Strategic Director £135,000

Corporate Resource and Economy Director £85,000

Financial Services Ass Dir £85,000

Head of City Finance £65,000

Finance Manager £50,000

Legal and Democratic Services Director £100,000

Senior Solicitor £50,000

Human Resources Senior Practitioner £50,000

Customer Services Head of Service £55,000

Customer Services Asst Director £75,000 and £100,000

Corporate Strategy Asst Dir £90,000

Who do you think is value for money? Bin men or these over paid lackey’s?

If you want to support the bin men, help us distribute the Birmingham Worker and leaflets to the public. Get in touch ASAP and help win this dispute:





Strike breaking

Despite the Councils best attempts, very few have scabbed

Strike breaking

The City Council stands accused of squandering YET MORE taxpayers money by using scab labour to undermine a legitimate, legal strike by Birmingham’s bin men. This can result in a £200,000 fine from the government – more tax payer’s money squandered!

Under the Employment Agencies & Employment Business Regulations 2003, Part 2, Section 7:

“7.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) an employment business shall not introduce or supply a work-seeker to a hirer to perform—

(a)the duties normally performed by a worker who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action (“the first worker”), or

(b)the duties normally performed by any other worker employed by the hirer and who is assigned by the hirer to perform the duties normally performed by the first worker, unless in either case the employment business does not know, and has no reasonable grounds for knowing, that the first worker is taking part in a strike or other industrial action”

Birmingham city council has been caught bringing in agency labour from Extra Personnel to do the job of the men on strike. The scabs were secretly brought into Montague Street Depot where they were given some very basic health and safety training int he use of the vehicle, the Council intended to send these poorly trained workers out onto our streets causing a risk to men, women and children.

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate at the Department for Trade and Industry has the power to fine the Agency a £25,000 lump sum, and £5,000 per scab worker and slap a big £200,000 fine on the Council.

We must demand the Council stops breaking employment law and respects the right of its employees to withdraw their labour – they are not slaves.


Birmingham Mail lies

The Birmingham Mail are at it again with lies about the salaries taken home by Birmingham bin men. Their article can be viewed here and we urge all readers to email them to complain:

Birmingham Mail lies

Duping the masses is, of course, an essential component of the ruling class’s programme to maintain its power at home and to pursue war abroad. It’s class against class. The Birmingham Mail working on behalf of the city council is spreading lies about the wages of bin men so as to assist in turning public opinion against the striking workers. But messages of support from the street show that this isn’t working.

The real facts about wages are reported by Communists, Socialists and trade unionists. A campaign on 38 Degrees says:

When we had a black bag service each refuse wagon had 5 workers; when the new wheelie bins were introduced this went down to 3. One is the driver of the wagon; who has to hold a HGV licence and they manoeuvre those large vehicles in Birmingham’s tightest spaces. A driver depending on an appraisal system can earn between £25,000-£31,000 Grade 4. There is then a Leading Hand, their job is to make sure that they are all kept safe. They are the driver’s eyes at the back and side of the vehicle; they are in charge of talking to the public and making sure that people stay away from the back of the vehicle. They also collect the bins and empty them in the vehicle and are Grade 3 earning between £19,000 and £24,500. Then there is the loader whose job it is to collect bins and load them. Their pay is between £15,000 and £18,500. Since 2008 these workers have all had their pay cut twice.

Please support the petition and sign it here:

Tyseley workers out this morning defending public services!

Bullying at the Council

Digbeth depot at a standstill this morning

Why does the Council allow a culture of bullying?

The city council is allowing hard working men and women to be subjected to a culture of bullying and intimidation in the work place. At the Tyseley Depot nearly 80 bin men signed a collective grievance against bullying managers, three of whom were suspended. Why does the Council indulge the bullies?

The Council allows the managers to subject the workers to a culture of bullying and intimidation because the Council is scared of its employees. The Council is scared of its employees because the Council is trying to push through unjustified, illogical cuts to pay, unfair alterations to working practices, terms and conditions, and attacks on the service provided to ratepayers. Bin men, like most workers are honest, hardworking, and reasonable. But if you push people too hard, attack their pay and conditions and drive their families into poverty you will find resistance. The Council hopes to quash any resistance through bullying and intimidation.

The reason for the attacks on services and workers has its origins in two places. Firstly, a capitalist crisis of overproduction, secondly the betrayal of the working class by the Labour Party Councillors at Birmingham City Council.

Capitalist Crisis

At the heart of the capitalist system is the contradiction that, to win the battle of competition, the capitalists need to cut wages and benefits to the working masses as much as possible, while producing and selling ever more goods at ever lower cost.

The relatively impoverished working masses, however, are unable to buy all these goods, resulting in a crisis of overproduction. Thousands of businesses go bankrupt and close. There are massive redundancies. Wages for those still in work go down. And this increase in poverty makes the crisis worse and leads to more of the same.

To “balance the books”, i.e., heap the cost of the crisis onto workers and not the rich, the Tory governments, with the tacit approval of the Liberals, Labour and others, have all gone along with the mantra of funding cuts, pay freezes etc.

Labour betrayal

Birmingham City Council, a Labour run Council is implementing these cuts. Well paid lackeys (managers) like Jacqui Kennedy who can earn between £97,000-£120,000 p/a are attempting to cut the wages of the bin men by £4,000-£6,000p/a. She does this because she is paid to do it. She is a mercenary and a class enemy.

The Council and its puppets like Jacqui are also trying to extend the four day working week to five days, increase the workload and squeeze every last drop of blood and sweat from the workers. They are instructed, aided and abetted by the Labour Party Councillors like Cabinet member for Clean Streets Lisa Trickett who gets a minimum of £41,000p/a in “allowances”. Lisa is in the Labour Party and heads the attacks on the bin men. She’s a shrewd politician who in her role as Cabinet member for Clean Streets has caused the biggest industrial dispute for years resulting in piles of stinking rubbish adorning the streets of Birmingham. What a success story. Like most politicians, Lisa thinks that she knows best, and she is unlikely to back down. Workers need to let Lisa know that they are opposed to the mess she is quite literally making. Email  to let her know your thoughts. Lisa holds a surgery every,

2nd Thursday of the month, 6.00 – 7.00pm

Moseley Exchange, Moseley Community Development Trust, The Post Office Building, 149 – 153 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8JP.