Some photos from the Kings Heath LTN rally

LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham
LTN Demo York Rd Kings Heath Birmingham

photos courtesy of Birmingham National Union of Journalists branch secretary Stalingrad O’Neill

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Work doesn’t pay & Birmingham families know it

 

humorous cartoon depicts Birmingham’s Labour council promise to keep burials free for the destitute in 2019

The proportion of people with a job who live in poverty went up for the third consecutive year to a record high.

Government data shows 1.4 million people across the West Midlands region were living in relative poverty between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

An article in the Birmingham Mail has reported that,

“Poverty has increased for children and pensioners over the last five years with some of the worst hardship in the West Midlands.

The study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said that, despite rising levels of employment, in-work poverty has also gone up because often people’s pay, hours, or both, are not enough.”

The report says that about 56% of those living in poverty were in working households, that seven in ten children who were in poverty had parents in work.

The Josef Roundtree Foundation (JRF) has said the poverty indicator it used is when a family has an income of less than 60 per cent of median UK income for their family type, after housing costs. Just over half of people in poverty are in a working family, compared to 39 per cent 20 years ago, according to the research.

JRF said 14 million people were living in poverty, including four million children and two million pensioners, up by 400,000 and 300,000 respectively over the past five years.

The report said people were more likely to be in poverty if they lived in certain parts of the UK, in a family where there is a disabled person or a carer, if they work in the hospitality or retail sector, or if they live in rented housing.

Distribution of private wealth

The richest 10 percent of households own 44.6 percent of private wealth in Britain, while the poorest 30 percent have less than 2 percent. The poorest ten percent have £18bn of non-property debt (credit cards, overdrafts, HP, etc) while the richest ten percent only have £11bn.

Socialists must never tire of telling people that the political system that we live under (capitalist imperialism) is the cause not only of the fabulous wealth of a tiny handful of leeches who live by exploiting the masses, but is the cause also of the misery, exploitation, ill health, etc that the mass of the workers experience to a greater degree year upon year.

Only a workers’ movement that replaces this parasitic set-up with a socialist planned economy can provide the solution – an economy that is geared towards providing a decent standard of living for all workers, and which will lay the foundations for a future world of peace and plenty.

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:

Stirchley Forum organise a Ward hustings for the local elections 2018

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The following is the statement of Reuben Lawrence made to a hustings meeting organised this evening by Stirchley Forum as part of Birmingham’s 2018 local elections. Our thanks to the Forum for inviting our candidate. As Reuben was at work he was not able to attend. Unfortunately no other member of the CPGB-ML or Birmingham Worker was allowed to speak on his behalf. We were allowed to submit an introduction lasting not more than 1 minute, and a 2 minute concluding remark. Both are reproduced in full below:

“Dear friends, I am unable to be in attendance this evening as I work until 8pm, I hope to make the end of the meeting. Despite this, my comrades are in the audience with my campaign materials which I hope you will take and read.

I come from a working class family, originally from West Bromwich. I have never been well off and have always lived by my means, that being very little in the beginning. In the hopes of a better life and escape from abject poverty I enlisted in the British Army at the age of 16 and served as a guardsman from then on. Life in the army taught me discipline and gave me an iron will along with a fierce determination to see things through.

Politically for most of my (short) adult life I’ve always felt that politics is not for the working class, the wretched of the earth as we’re seen from above, and I’ve felt the exclusion and alienation which so many of my generation suffer from. However, since I left the army and became a socialist I now have a fierce determination to see the working class, the majority of the British Public have the loudest voice in politics. To that end i campaign as part of a new electoral group, the Birmingham Worker, a socialist organisation which forbids its members from pursuing  a career in politics, rather it demands service on behalf workers.”

Final Statement

“I’ll be brief and straight to the point, we the British Public bear the brunt of all the rubbish decisions made by our government, both national and local, and we also suffer the consequences.

From British involvement in Iraq to Syria our Government takes the decision to murder innocent people and are not held accountable by us, squandering millions on illegal and unjust wars, waged by a rich few who’s lives are never at risk but fought by the children of the poor like myself. Local governments are in the hands of the junior partners of the big political forces, the Tories and Labour. Policies in Birmingham by a Labour council such as the closure of 14 children’s centres is unjustifiable on the basis of a lack of funding when we consider the £6.6 million which was found to pay private contractors and scabs in a vain attempt to defeat our bin men in 2017. Our citizens are not given any say nor voice in the matter and our children suffer as a consequence. This election is our chance to voice our disaproval.

We’re told by the local Council there’s no money and yet when I look at the combined wage package of a handful of top council executives, which for 6 people is a combined wage package of nearly £800,000, I think back to the bin dispute, where the labour council wanted to cut the wages of our bin men, to save a mere £300,000 a year. Those workers were rightfully striking to save their livelihoods, put food on their children’s tables and I ask myself is this right? How can it be right for a Labour council to break the law by employing scabbing workers?

I come to one conclusion and one conclusion only; its Labour, Tory, same old story.

The British Public know what’s best for us, our families and our future generations and it’s high time we did something about that, voting is important but it is not enough, so I hope everyone in Stirchley and everyone they know will consider getting politically active, challenge and question those in power not just at election time but all the time, fighting for a socialist Britain.”
Reuben Lawrence

Poverty on the rise as Birmingham’s Labour council freezes burial fees!

Poverty on the rise as Birmingham’s Labour council freezes burial fees!

An article carried in the Independent newspaper says the “Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)[i] found that Britain’s record on tackling poverty had reached a turning point and was at risk of unravelling, with nearly 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners living in poverty than five years ago. Their report showed a total of 14 million people in the UK currently live in poverty – more than one in five of the population.

Now the latest figures, collated by the End Child Poverty coalition through analysis of tax credit data and national trends in worklessness, estimate that child poverty in Manchester and Birmingham stands at 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. In the London borough of Tower Hamlets this reaches 53 per cent.

When broken down into constituencies, the figures indicate that Bethnal Green and Bow in London has the highest child poverty rate at 54 per cent, while in Ladywood in Birmingham 53 per cent are living in poverty. Among the 20 parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham and three in Manchester.[ii]

Our 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. Now they announce plans to cut a further £53m off the budget despite hiking up the Council tax this year.

The Birmingham Post reported Council Leader Ian Ward saying “We have listened and, even at a time of continuing government cuts, we are investing in the services that matter most to the people of Birmingham.”

According to the Post “Labour bosses said they had listened on several key issues, including reducing the tax hike, freezing burial and cremation fees and not introducing charges for library book reservations.”[iii]

It will be little comfort for our poor and needy to know that what wasn’t spent keeping them alive has been kept back for their everlasting interment.

What you can do

If you want to fight for a better Birmingham, and a better world, join the campaign to elect Birmingham Worker candidates to the city council:

[i] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/poverty-britain-joseph-rowntree-foundation-report-theresa-may-social-mobility-commission-million-a8089491.html

[ii] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-poverty-uk-cities-london-birmingham-manchester-welfare-cuts-benefits-food-parents-households-a8174436.html

[iii] https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/birmingham-council-storing-up-tax-14280869

Promoted on behalf of SammI Ibrahem, Reuben Lawrence & Katherine Cremer by Birmingham Worker 274 B12 0BS