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From: The Socialist issue 1030, 20 February 2019: Tories out, Blairites out

Search site for keywords: Birmingham - Strike - Blacklisting - Workers - Socialist - Bin workers - Rob Williams - National Shop Stewards Network

Birmingham bin strike against 'blacklisting'

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail   (Click to enlarge)

Hundreds of Birmingham bin workers in Unite the Union took strike action on 19 February to protest the council making secret payments to workers who did not take part in the 2017 bin strike. There were picket lines across four depots.

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail   (Click to enlarge)

20 Socialist Party members went down to support the strike. One of them, Rob Williams, spoke at two picket-line rallies of hundreds, alongside Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett. Rob offered the full support of the Socialist Party and National Shop Stewards Network to huge cheer and applause.

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail   (Click to enlarge)

The bin workers are approaching the dispute seriously. The stakes are higher than before. Birmingham's pro-austerity Blairite council is attempting to get a high-court injunction to stop the strike.

When the bin workers strike again on 22 February they will be joined by home-care workers in public sector union Unison. Home carers, taking action against pay cuts, will join the bin-depot picket lines.

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail

Birmingham bin strike, 19.2.19, photo by Lenny Shail   (Click to enlarge)

The council is under even more pressure to step back from a full-frontal assault on the working class of Birmingham. The Socialist Party is calling for coordinated and escalated action in defence of jobs, services and ordinary people.

Lenny Shail, Birmingham Socialist Party

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

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The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 20 February 2019

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