GMB protest at Rugeley Amazon

A large protest was organised this afternoon by the GMB outside the premises of Amazon near Birmingham.

The rally was part of a week of events organised by GMB, mirroring action taken across the globe. Amazon have a number of large warehouses in the west midlands and employ nigh on 30,000 workers in Britain and the north of Ireland, with a total worldwide workforce of 630,000.

Staff at warehouses around the world reportedly walked out on Monday this week to coincide with Amazon’s 48-hour ‘Prime Day’ sale – dubbed its very own Black Friday.The sale offers discounts exclusively to Prime members – which is the retailer’s £79 a year subscription service.

Seattle-based Amazon, founded by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, says new deals will launch as often as every five minutes until midnight on Tuesday, “giving shoppers plenty of reasons to come back again and again”. In Germany, the trade union Verdi brought out 2,000 workers on strike in Verne, Weinberg, Leipzig and Koblenz. In Britain, amongst a veritable shopping frenzy, Labour-affiliated GMB said:

“We’re not calling for economic damage for Amazon… What we’re asking for is for people to be aware. Leave feed back on Amazon”.

Companies like Amazon and Deliveroo, with large workforces enduring stressful conditions on poverty pay, are working hard to deny their workers the right to trade-union representation, even when those unions explicitly state that they don’t wish to impact on operating profits.

If the working class is to get up off its knees, there will have to be a fight-back (quite possibly impacting on operating profits, which by the way are of no benefit to the workforce). Britain’s poorest workers have for so long endured high levels of insecurity, unliveable pay and inhuman conditions, the first step to rectifying this will be advocating the interests of workers and not shareholders.

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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

Support for RMT members out on strike in Birmingham

The Birmingham Worker calls on our supporters and friends to defend and lend their support to RMT rail workers who are out on strike. 

RMT strike December 2017_BIRM_pg 1

Race for profits = more train delays

Attacks on working conditions and cuts to services have forced rail workers to take industrial action to protect their jobs and public safety.

When railways were nationalised and there was an integrated national service, terms and conditions across the industry could be uniform. Now that privatisation has carved up the train network between dozens of different companies, working conditions and disputes between workers and managers can arise at any one of several companies at any time and standards and safety are constantly under threat from a race to the bottom, driven by the need to maximise profits.

The government’s solution to the fragmentation, unaccountability and petty rivalries that privatisation has inevitably bred in the previously integrated national rail service is … more privatisation!

Strike action is a DIRECT result of train management attacks on workers. If your train has been delayed, it is not the fault of workers, but management.

Show your support for the workers.

You can claim back the cost of your ticket under the Delay Repay scheme. Collect a form from the station or apply online at:  https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/delayrepay   or https://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/customer-service/contact-us/delay-repay

Cross Country services recruit scab managers

Cross Country operate trains in and out of Birmingham from Tamworth, Nottingham, East Midlands, Bristol, Cardiff, Sheffield, Leeds, Cambridge, Bournemouth, Reading, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The RMT union have warned passengers “that the company are trying to recruit a scab army of managers, ill-equipped and without the skills and training needed to fulfil the safety-critical role of the guard, and paid a bounty of £250 with luxury hotel accommodation thrown in. Drivers are now being strong-armed by the company with the imposition of compulsory overtime.”

The “RMT has warned that these bogus train managers are acting outside of their substantive role and are poorly trained, incapable of carrying out the full role and responsibility of a fully competent and safety critical guard”.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“It is disgraceful that the management at Arriva effectively sabotaged talks… that were making progress towards a settlement to this dispute and were instead focused on dishing out cash bungs to a dangerous scab army of under-cooked management recruits to try and break the action.”

Strike action is a result of train management sabotaging talks.

Show your support for the workers.   

Join us at Councillor Trickett’s surgery this Thursday 6pm (cpgb-ml)

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Local residents outside Lisa Trickett’s surgery in September

The Birmingham bin strike is far from over. The ballot of industrial action is valid from Monday, although bin men won’t be taking strike action as they are relying on the Union lawyers and officials to come to some sort of agreement with the Council else see the matter settled in their favour in the Courts.

Reliance on the bourgeois courts is the favoured tactic of most trade union negotiators these days when settlement through agencies like ACAS isn’t possible. Having seen the tangible value of an ACAS agreement in August, and the back-stabbing antics of the Labour Party, the CPGB-ML is of the opinion that the real strength of the workers lies in industrial action and political pressure exerted against the Labour party. Closing your eyes and wishing that your cheating, lieing, underhand partner is going to change their ways is wishful thinking. The reality of the trade union – Labour party “relationship” has tragic consequences for the workers who fail to ascertain that endless pleading with Labour to “see sense” gets you nowhere – bullies only understand strength and there’s no choice but to fight them.

Join CPGB-ML outside the surgery of Councillor Trickett

Thursday 12th October 6.00 – 7.00pm

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

Leave your details here for updates and more information:

Demand a vote on any deal & target Labour party councillors

The coming days and weeks in the Birmingham bin strike will be crucial for the bin men. Tonight (Tuesday 19 September), the Party Committee of Birmingham CPGB-ML discussed the likely outcome of the High Court ruling in London and the success of both last Thursday’s Trickett picket and the Sunday rally.

High Court

Firstly we fully expect the High Court to cobble together a decision that will enable both Unite and the Council to claim some sort of victory. As with the fiasco of the ACAS deal, it is only right and proper that the workers vote on whether to accept such a deal and return to work. The decision cannot be made on their behalf by officials and stewards alone. Furthermore, any deal that delays the demands of the workers should be challenged until the Grade 3s are given a cast iron guarantee that their job is protected.

It is the job of social democracy to ensure that the anger of the mistreated working classes is dissipated. They do this by announcing public inquiries and commissions as in Grenfell and in the case of industrial disputes, they use ACAS and the Courts to get men back to work on promises alone. This has happened once before in this dispute. If the men are offered a promise, or if the men are offered a temporary concession or deal, perhaps even a pause in hostilities, they must push on for total victory. Don’t clean the streets up only to have to come out again! Each delay only gives the Council more time to prepare their attack and undermine the strike.

Labour

Secondly our Party believes a campaign targeting Labour councillors and members at Ward meetings and constituency party meetings will pressure the local Labour Party to think again and encourage the welcome process already begun of internal Labour party back-stabbing whereby Momentum and others are emboldened to attack and remove incumbent councillors. Dissention in the enemy’s ranks is to be welcomed. Our party notes with amusement the beginnings of the great purge in local CLP’s and offers the following advice to the butchers,

“Today you amputate one limb, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third – what will we have left in the Party” (J V Stalin 1924).
Victory to the bin workers!