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:

Three cheers for Unison bin workers out on strike! What next for the bin men?

cash for scabs.jpg

Unite have accused Birmingham city council of rewarding those who worked through the 2017 Birmingham bin strike

The Birmingham Mail has reported that Unison have today announced that their members will join with Unite members currently in dispute with the city’s waste services.

Whats happening with the dispute?

Is there a difference between Ian Ward and John Clancy? Is there any difference between Lisa Trickett and Majid Mahmood? Is there a difference between coke and pepsi?

Some people believe there are two Labour party’s – a good one and a nasty one. Howard Beckett considers himself a member of the good one. Then there is Councillor Majid Mahmood who also considers himself a member of the good one, being a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not that long ago that Howard Beckett was able to tell picket lines that he had been assured by John Clancy that John was a ‘gud old fashioned Labour party man and the workers could trust him. Comrade Clancy stabbed everyone in the back, and he himself was stabbed in the back by his comrades in the Birmingham Labour party.

Workers have to ask themselves – is there any difference between Majid and Lisa, between Ian and John? Birmingham Worker says that there is no fundamental difference between any of these career politicians; they all serve themselves. The Labour Party is a party, it is not the will of one person. In Birmingham the Labour party is rotten to the core, it has stabbed the bin men in the back before and it will do so again. Being in a trusting relationship with the Labour party is like having a cheating spouse.

What’s going on at the top?

Cllr Majid is surely a candidate to get Ian Ward’s job, and no doubt Howard Beckett and the Unite Labour party members would be very supportive of any aspirations he might have. If Cllr Majid could just get a couple of thousand pounds each for every bin man then no doubt Unite will back him for the top job once Ian Ward is out of the way. To do this Majid may possibly have to expose Ian Ward and others for the deals they’ve done with council officers, unfair appointments to jobs and blacklisting are just a few of the accusations currently circulating throughout the council.

If a deal is done, Unite the Union’s Labour party leadership will say that Cllr Mahmood is a decent man who has done a splendid job for Unite’s members, and everyone will celebrate a huge victory, just like before. The bin men may receive a payment in the short term, but it will be extremely difficult to wage a later struggle against the unjust agreement that was implemented in the first place. The struggle for the return to the compressed working week, the collective task and finish will be lost and the public support for industrial action in the near future will be low. Workers shouldn’t sell themselves short, why not demand:

  • jobs for the agency workers
  • the payment of the money for all TU members
  • A return to the compressed working week
  • A return to the collective task & finish

To be kept informed with the activities of the Birmingham Worker Party please get in touch:

Birmingham spends more burying the poor than any other city

labour budget birmingham worker.jpg

Earlier this year we reported how our Labour council’s progressive labour budget had frozen the cost of burials. Now it is revealed that the council stood to benefit the most from such a move – because Birmingham buries more paupers than any other city.

bbc birmingham pauper burials

Our city spent nearly £1 million on funerals known as ‘public health funerals’. These are given to those who have died alone, in poverty or without relatives to cover the cost of the burial. Birmingham buried 395 such people, that’s one for every 22 who were buried in the city. In the light of this, Labour’s generous budget commitment to keep the cost of burials low is shown up for what it is, pure self interest.

For more information see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46796036

and https://birminghamworker.org/2018/04/05/poverty-on-the-rise-as-birminghams-labour-council-freezes-burial-fees/ 

Don’t let JLR blame Brexit; job cuts are driven by the profit motive.

Today, despite huge profits last year, an increase in Jaguar sales and plans to employ thousands more in Slovakia and China, JLR announced 4,500 job cuts. The media, the trade union leadership and the Labour party all want to join with JLR in blaming Brexit. But that is not even half the story. We reproduce here an article recently published by Birmingham Worker.

JLR, Bentley, Aston Martin and many other big players in the car industry are fighting an anti-Brexit propaganda war, blaming everything on Brexit. If you listened to these powerful giants whose businesses are worth billions you would be led to believe that before the British people voted to Leave there had never been any problems in the car industry! The facts are different. The facts are that there is a huge crisis in the car industry, not because of Brexit, but because of two main factors. Firstly, the manufacturers have made more cars than they can shift.  Whilst the overproduction crisis preceded Brexit and will get worse with or without Brexit, Bentley are not lying when they warn about possible disruption of supply lines, e.g. engines imported from Germany. However, disruptions or no disruptions, there’s too many Bentleys and not enough millionaires to buy them.

Secondly, the large, powerful car producers are constantly looking for excuses and opportunities to outsource jobs and export their capital to foreign countries where labour and costs are cheaper. The manufacturers and their shareholders are motivated by making bigger profits. Just now, having made more cars than they can sell the manufacturers see their opportunity to jump ship and blame it all on Brexit!

In recent years JLR, Aston Martin, Bentley and other manufacturers have made billions of pounds in profit. These companies must not be allowed to throw hundreds of workers who’ve generated these huge profits straight onto the dole. Workers must be kept on full pay and manufacturing jobs protected. Companies who’ve made huge profits must not be allowed to undermine the democratic will of the British people to Leave the EU.

Defend manufacturing jobs

Defend Brexit!

More info on suspected job losses: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/21/news/ft-leaks-plans-by-jaguar-land-rover-to-axe-5000-jobs/

Brexit Paralysis : https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/31/news/brexit-paralysis-government-and-opposition-in-a-shambles/

Defend Brexit and manufacturing jobs in Birmingham

jlr

JLR, Bentley, Aston Martin and many other big players in the car industry are fighting an anti-Brexit propaganda war, blaming everything on Brexit. If you listened to these powerful giants whose businesses are worth billions you would be led to believe that before the British people voted to Leave there had never been any problems in the car industry! The facts are different. The facts are that there is a huge crisis in the car industry, not because of Brexit, but because of two main factors. Firstly, the manufacturers have made more cars than they can shift.  Whilst the overproduction crisis preceded Brexit and will get worse with or without Brexit, Bentley are not lying when they warn about possible disruption of supply lines, e.g. engines imported from Germany. However, disruptions or no disruptions, there’s too many Bentleys and not enough millionaires to buy them.

Secondly, the large, powerful car producers are constantly looking for excuses and opportunities to outsource jobs and export their capital to foreign countries where labour and costs are cheaper. The manufacturers and their shareholders are motivated by making bigger profits. Just now, having made more cars than they can sell the manufacturers see their opportunity to jump ship and blame it all on Brexit!

In recent years JLR, Aston Martin, Bentley and other manufacturers have made billions of pounds in profit. These companies must not be allowed to throw hundreds of workers who’ve generated these huge profits straight onto the dole. Workers must be kept on full pay and manufacturing jobs protected. Companies who’ve made huge profits must not be allowed to undermine the democratic will of the British people to Leave the EU.

Defend manufacturing jobs

Defend Brexit!

More info on suspected job losses: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/21/news/ft-leaks-plans-by-jaguar-land-rover-to-axe-5000-jobs/

Brexit Paralysis : https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/31/news/brexit-paralysis-government-and-opposition-in-a-shambles/

Support Asda Queslett workers; don’t let machines come before jobs nor profit before people

automation asda_dec 2018.indd

Staff at ASDA in Queslett, Great Barr, are fed up with the imposition of “scan and go” machines, taking the place of the usual checkout tills. Where once there were 31 manned tills, there are now only 20, and workers fear that up to a dozen jobs may go by February next year.

 As well as the threat to jobs in an area of very high unemployment, staff also complain that the “scan and go” machines will disadvantage users who cannot supply an email address, particularly the elderly and children.

The enterprising workers have taken their case onto the streets, plastering “Save Our Jobs” posters on bus stops and lamposts in nearby streets and asking customers to boycott the new machines. As well as trying to cut costs by substituting robots for wage-earners, bosses are also sweating the remaining checkout workers harder, demanding that staff should scan 22 items every 60 seconds!

 Bosses blame a competitive retail market for making these cost-cutting measures necessary, but why should workers pay with their sweat and their jobs to preserve the profits of capitalism?

 So long as the means of production are privately owned, automation is a constant threat to workers’ job security.

Birmingham Worker supports the fight of the Asda workers for jobs and employment. Workers must make it difficult for employers to implement measures which put profits before people.

Under a planned socialist economy there will be full employment, nobody will be denied the right to perform some useful work for society. In such a system of economy automation can lighten the burden of labour and free workers up for other useful and interesting kinds of work. That is why we should fight for socialism and bring an end to the anarchy and chaos of capitalism.

FT leaks plans by Jaguar Land Rover to axe 5,000 jobs

jlr

FT says company plans to axe thousands of jobs in Birmingham area

At the end of November, following a slump in sales, JLR announced job losses at its Solihull plant, following hard on the heels of its move last April to wipe out 1,000 of the total 9,000 jobs. JLR plans to move production of the Discovery to Slovakia, whilst Solihull is retooled to produce electric cars with a smaller workforce.

Worse was reported yesterday when the FT and Guardian announced that insiders had said more than 5,000 jobs are to be axed:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/16/jaguar-land-rover-to-axe-up-to-5000-jobs 

https://www.ft.com/content/c4f06f8e-ff99-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521

Over at JLR’s engine-building plant in Wolverhampton, weak demand has forced the company to extend the Christmas shut-down by two weeks.

The global overproduction crisis continues to put the squeeze right across  the automotive industry, sparking the beginnings of a workers’ revolt. Over at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant, successive waves of redundancies have seen the workforce shrink from 1,900 to 1,100. In November, when a further 241 redundancies were announced, workers responded with a mass walk-out.

Whilst JLR blames variously the “demonisation of diesel” and Brexit for the company’s problems, the fundamental cause is to be found in the anarchy of capitalist production, which creates regular overproduction crises. This means that capitalism produces far too many things than can be consumed – rather than producing the things which are needed, it produces items for maximum profit. This drive for maximum profit also means that many processes are automated to be carried out by robots – a process which also puts many thousands out of work.

Until the means of production – factories, farms, etc – are socialised, and production is planned to meet people’s needs, not to make private profit, workers’ jobs will continue to be a hostage to fortune, prey to all the vagaries of capitalist ‘free market’ forces.

In the short term, workers must demand that their factory should be nationalised and kept going. If there really is no demand for the cars being produced, the factory should be transformed to produce something that people do need, and workers retrained to make it.

If we are still faced with the problem of ‘lack of demand’ (ie, workers not having enough money to pay for the things they need), then it is clear that the whole system needs to be transformed, not merely a single factory. What kind of insanity is it when the workers who produce all of society’s superabundant wealth are unable to share in that abundance – are unable even to feed their families or keep a roof over their heads?

Only by fighting for socialism can we secure a future of secure jobs, full employment and advancing living standards.

If you work at JLR or want to help the workers there, get in touch with the Birmingham Worker:

Why are my bins not collected?

Thousands of bin collections are being missed because of Birmingham councils ineptitude and refusal to listen to the people who deliver the service.

The escalating problem was discussed this afternoon at a mass meeting of Unite members at the Birmingham and Midland Institute.

Labour councillors last year wasted more than £6million of tax payer’s money attempting to attack the wages of local bin men, £6m that could have been spent on child services, looking after our elderly and preventing the worst effects of poverty in Birmingham.
Having lied to the public last year during the bin dispute, the Council have again double-crossed workers. In bringing the dispute to an end last year, a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the council and the workforce was agreed. Measures set out a new five day work pattern, an undertaking to employ the dozens of agency workers on proper contracts and agreed to ensure that every general bin wagon had a proper full time driver, WRCO (waste reduction collection officer) and loader. These men are graded 4, 3 and 2 based upon the level of responsibility each man has.

Missed collections

Hundreds of roads are having their collections missed as a result of the new 5 day pattern. On a single Monday in November 170 roads were left with rubbish on the street.

Pleading poverty the Council has failed to employ new full time staff as agreed last year. Casual agency labour should have had contracts by now, but the council is stalling as punishment for strike action last year. The council has failed to properly plan the refuse service resulting in thousands of missed collections, is refusing overtime to council staff to clean up the littered roads and is instead trying to pay agency labour to cover their tracks, and is blaming the whole saga on lazy bin workers who they claim are not doing their bit. This would be the same workers who in 2017 agreed to work an extra 50 days a year for no extra pay!

Bad employment practices

In an attempt to divide the workforce and punish those who went on strike in defense of a safe and efficient service, the Council has rewarded those workers who are members of unions which did not take strike action. Although it claims to be out of money the council has paid sums of £4,600 (and more) to workers who didn’t strike, and has allowed members of other unions to continue to work a four day week. It is quite clear that Birmingham City Council thinks it can divide some, bribe others and turn its back on every agreement it makes with workers and their trade unions.

Money to cover up their mess

Last year the council squandered £millions on confidential payments to private refuse firms during the strike. Somebody got very rich, very quick… The council claims it has no money for essential services, is cutting nurseries and attacking care workers, yet they have found hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend on the new Birmingham Wholesale Market which they built as a joint investment with private finance up in Perry Barr. And having built it badly, the council has spent hundreds of thousands in rectification works. Elsewhere they have introduced car parking charges at public parks and recreation areas, pricing out many ordinary families, and int he service of big business their rates department harass small cafe owners in search of increases in the rent. They are acting like gangsters, and clearly think that their two-faced tactics will be enough to beat the bin men. The bin men, and Birmingham residents have to say together that enough is enough!

Lessons from 2017

When the bin men went up against the council last year, it was in defence of terms and conditions. The workers had to fight a Labour council, every bit as bad as any Tory council. Unions try to prevent strikes against Labour councils, they prefer to make deals with Labour councils because unions are full of Labour party members. They all share comfy jobs and don’t want to derail the gravy train. Unite were desperate for a deal right from the moment Howard Beckett arrived, Unite had no faith in victory unless it was declared in Court, Unite have given away the best part of 50 rest days a year, not only rest days for Grade 3’s but also Grade 4’s & 2’s. They said no other deal was possible. But is that true? Strike action cost the council over £6million – it nearly sank them! Unite threw their friends in the Labour council a life line by calling off the strike action TWICE and giving away the rest days of all grades.

Solidarity in the struggle against the housing crisis

On Saturday 20 October the Birmingham branch of the CPGB-ML took part in a protest organised by local residents and our comrades in Cambridge to stop the demolition of Montreal Square, a group of 18 houses built in the 1920’s for railway workers. The area is now owned by Cambridge Housing Society who plan to knock down the 18 houses and replace them with 32 flats.

At 2pm on the Saturday the local residents and campaigners assembled at Donkey Common, where a short rally was organised. Speakers from the residents association outlined their plight and their determination to stay put and were joined for ten minutes by local Labour MP Daniel Zeichner who stressed that he hoped the residents views would be taken into consideration. Comrade Lionel a local CPGB-ML activist spoke about the social cleansing of Cambridge and the need to strengthen the ties between all sections of working class in Cambridge who are victims of the housing crisis and pointed to the struggle of boat dwellers who themselves are under notices of eviction. Comrade Katherine from the CPGB-ML gave a message of solidarity from the party which pointed to the fundamental justice of the cause of Montreal Square residents and the CPGB-ML members then joined with others in taking over Mill Road (a busy shopping street) and marching the contingent back to Montreal Square for a final rally. Videos of the speeches and rally can be found on the CPGB-ML twitter account and you tube, and the text of a leaflet addressed to the Cambridge public is included below.

“The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) is proud to work in the campaign to defend Montreal Square from profiteers and we salute residents and campaigners for the magnificent work done so far to fight the threat of eviction and demolition.

According to think tank Centre for Cities, house prices in Cambridge are the third highest in Britain. The average cost of a city home is just shy of half a million with many luxury houses worth well over a million pounds. Clearly

Centre for Cities calculates that the top 6% of earners living in Cambridge take home 19% of the total income, whilst the bottom 20% of earners take home just 2%. It’s clear that there are two classes of people living in Cambridge, the rich and the poor. The Communist Party stands in defence of the poor, we are a party for the working classes, and the working classes in Cambridge need a Communist Party to organise their resistance to the money men.

If you are a high-flying millionaire entrepreneur operating in Cambridge’s so-called “Silicon Fen”, the cluster of 4,700 tech and life science firms with a £12 billion annual turnover and a cosy relationship with the university, then life is sweet.

But if you are one of the thousands living in poverty, under threat of homelessness and dreading the arrival of Universal Credit, the picture is very different. Local people watch aghast as all around them working class estates are bulldozed to make room for luxury flats, house-prices are driven stratospheric by an influx of well-heeled hipsters, and property speculators build houses for students whilst young workers are priced out of the city. The ugly offspring of the union between the corporate world of Amazon and Apple and the hallowed groves of academic circles turns out to be yet more social cleansing, tidying away the inconvenient poor.

There can be no permanent solution to the housing crisis under capitalism. It is only socialism that recognises housing as a primary social need, not as an opportunity for some capitalist to make his fortune. Workers must protect the houses we have, and fight for a socialist future. Join the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) today.”

Other Links:

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/gallery/montreal-square-redevelopment-march-cambridge-15339263