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. 

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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!

Photographers images from bin workers demo

Communist and photographer Stalingrad took these great photos at Sunday’s rally in support of Birmingham bin men, enjoy!

Five myths about Manzie and Labour

Myth 1 – Manzie uses magic powers to make all the poor Labour councillors do her bidding, including poor old John Clancy

Truth – Manzie was appointed by the Labour party. Clancy and the rest, including the Tories love her. Her views coincide with theirs. All their views are the same because they are all capitalists, none of them are socialists. In fact, Manzie was appointed precisely because she is such a wretched slave to the interests of capitalism.

Myth 2 – Manzie gets £180,000pa

Truth – she does, it was a salary agreed by her bosses in the Labour Party when they appointed her. They also take neat little sums as Councillors.

Myth 3 – Manzie is a Tory

Truth – who knows and who cares? Labour or Tory its the same old story. She was appointed by Labour with Tory support, her salary was agreed by the Labour Cabinet, and presumably her politics and reputation preceeded her, thats why they appointed her and not a bin man. So – they knew she was a disgrace and they appointed her for that very reason, they haven’t been tricked or bullied!

Myth 4 – “if it sounds like a Tory, talks like a Tory and is a Labour party member, it’s a Tory” video here

Truth – nope, it’s a Labour party member. Let’s stop making excuses for Labour class traitors by calling them Tories. They’re Labour, the same party which didn’t overturn any anti-union legislation between 1997-2010, gased 4 million Korean workers whilst it bribed British workers with the NHS in 1948 (which it then began privatising in 1998!), betrayed the Miners Strike in 1984 and abandoned the fig leaf of Clause 4 & common ownership in 1995. The list could go on….

Myth 5 – the Labour party is a socialist organisation

Truth – The Labour party doesn’t set itself the goal of socialism. The Labour party aims to manage capitalism, to put a nice face on it. When workers make a fuss, all the top brass start going on about socialism again. The mention of socialism in Clause 4 of the Labour party constitution was put in by Tony Blair in the 90’s. Tony had total power to do what the hell he wanted for ten years, we didn’t advance one inch towards socialism, but Tony did manage to murder a few million and make himself a few more million from all the slaughter.

We need to strive for socialism, and for that, we need a Communist Party. The CPGB-ML is that party.

 

The reason John McDonnell has finally spoken in support of the Birmingham bin strike is because he has been forced to support the bin men.

The Birmingham Mail yesterday quoted McDonnell as saying:

“I do not see your strike as strike against Labour. I see your strike as a strike against austerity. Simple as that.

“Our advice to Labour councillors wherever, when they go into dispute, is to get round the table.

“And insist on the fact that it isn’t chief executives or officers of the council that determine the future of a council’s policies, but the councillors themselves.

“So we want negotiations to resolve this dispute immediately.

“Solidarity!”

Our view

We agree that this strike has been a strike against austerity, but it’s LABOUR PARTY austerity. Whilst the Tories may be in government, it is the Labour party locally who have chosen to attack the bin men, as well as implement cuts which have reduced a city council workforce of 20,000 to half that number.

The reason John McDonnell has finally spoken in support of the Birmingham bin strike is because he has been forced to support the bin men. If he was an ardent supporter would it have taken nine weeks?

It is clear that this new and very welcome support is due to the heroic industrial action undertaken since June. The local Labour Council have failed to impose the cuts which they believed in their arrogance would go through with very little disruption, the Labour chief of the Council has fallen on his sword and McDonnell is being forced to the microphone. The fact that the pressure has mounted to this level is proof, were any needed, that the bin men are winning.

Birmingham IWA(GB) raise money for strike fund

The Birmingham Branch of the Indian Workers Association (GB) accompanied CPGB-ML comrades to the Perry Barr picket lines on Thursday to show their support for striking bin men. The IWA comrades handed a cheque to Convenor Richard Beddows for the strike fund. The Birmingham IWA(GB) has a long and proud history in our town; from the days organising in the Birmingham foundries for Marxism-Leninism, it’s influence in the trade union movement & anti-fascist campaigning in Handsworth from the Shaheed Udham Singh Welfare Centre.

Birmingham IWA(GB) leader Avtar Jouhl is a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and will speak at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Great October Socialist Revolution which is taking place in London on November 4th – tickets available here.

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L to R: Sheera, Bhagwant (IWA), Sammi Ibrahem (CPGB-ML) & Richard Beddoows (Unite)

Binmen Strike; Perry Barr Depot, 7th Sept 2017;

Sheera delivers a solidarity message

Watch this video: Howard Beckett at Perry Barr & the myth of Clancy blown apart

Bin men leaflet_sept2017All those who have claimed that Clancy has been ganged up on by Tories and Lib Dems should read these words of  John Clancy, Labour Party member and leader of Labour led Birmingham City Council:

“Deal or no deal – there was no deal. My cabinet and I came together with a negotiating position to try to see what we could do to go that extra mile to get a negotiated solution.

“If there had been a deal to end the dispute, the strike would have ended, it wasn’t, it was suspended.

“So, there was no deal, there was an agreement in principle to talk at Acas and my cabinet and I agreed some heads of terms that would enable us to get into Acas to talk, there has been no deal concluded with Unite.

“Unite have said there was a deal for their own purposes. There was never a deal.”

Source BBC

And you can watch him here: https://twitter.com/BrumLeader/status/903634716846415875

Regardless of his claims, and the misplaced faith put in him by many – it is now clear to all that Clancy is a typical Labour Judas. As are the rest of the Labour Councillors like Trickett who back the moves against the bin men.

The penny drops

Here’s the footage of Howard Beckett addressing Perry Barr depot this afternoon, all illusions in Clancy & Labour begin to erode in the harsh face of reality, but we must ensure that they are not allowed to resurface, even if a celebrity like Corbyn eventually decides to make an appearance!

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Birmingham Bin Strike – CPGB-ML Statement

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The Birmingham Branch of the CPGB-ML and its newspaper the Birmingham Worker congratulates Birmingham’s bin men in what we hope is the first step towards an equitable settlement. Whilst encouraged by the promise that the Grade 3 posts will be protected, actions speak louder than words. At this moment in time, it would be wrong for us to echo the jubilant tone of both the Socialist Party and those from whom they take their analysis, the Unite press office.

So far, the pause in industrial action is based upon the good will of the bin men and promises from the city council. Words are not deeds; Clancy, Trickett and Co are like the rest of the Labour bureaucrats – they’re anti working class careerists riding the Labour Party gravy train and must not be trusted. If they fail to implement concrete measures then workers must be ready to come straight back out. The Cabinet Meeting is yet to discuss the outcome of the ACAS talks and the city council have been very cool in statements they have made to the press over the course of the week.

We have stood with the workers since well before the strike began, as many bin men know, our comrades have tirelessly campaigned on behalf of workers since before the mass meetings at the Alexander Stadium and from the very first day of strike action. This will not change, whether there is strike action or not. Our political line is simple – Labour, Tory, its the same old story, cuts at home and war abroad. We hold no illusions in local Labour Party careerists or the top nobs in London hanging onto Corbyn’s coat tail. Corbyn had plenty of chances to turn up to support striking workers, as did his MP’s. They were nowhere to be seen, and the whole mess was caused by Labour Councillors in the first place.

The political line from the Socialist Party that local Labour members are clearly not “Corbyn Labour” and calls to remove so-called “blue Labour Blairites” make no sense whatsoever. The Labour Party is a thoroughly bourgeois political party, the fact that some members of the Labour Party are of working class origin makes the Party no more a political workers party than any other right-wing Party with working class members. We appeal to workers to trust their instincts – put no faith in the Labour Party, put no faith in those who talk about a “red” “left” or “Corbyn” Labour Party.

Should the dispute be resolved or not we will be ready to play our part in the struggles to come. We hope that striking bin men see that this strike was just one skirmish in the class struggle, but in going up against a Labour Council they blazed a trail for the entire British working class to follow. Britain needs workers to learn the lessons from the strike; that workers need their own political party unconnected with Labour to voice their interests in the Council, that the main corporate media worked against the strikers and that workers need their own magazines and publishers to put across their point of view, and finally that if workers stand in solidarity for their class interests then for those moments their lives take on a greater meaning than they did previously, that in fighting for their class interests they point the way to the future, a society run not for profit but in the interests of working people. The world is nothing without it’s workers, our class is the most powerful force for social change and when it is united it is unbeatable.

Class Against Class.

Workers of the world, unite!

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