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.

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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!

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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

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