Workers at Doncaster, Birmingham and Shropshire councils will strike on 22 and 23 September as local government bosses seek to impose further cuts.
Doncaster Unison secretary Jim Board said the council wanted a “bloodbath”. “The average mid-grade worker would lose £3,000 — while being expected to work for longer”, Board said. “People would have to strike for a month for it to cost them anything like that.”
The council’s plans also include 1,000 job losses. With strikes called at extremely short notice, just a day after the council’s announcement of its latest round of cuts, stewards and activists at the council have gone into overdrive to build for the action. “We’ve got days to get out and push for maximum participation. We’re confident we can do that. And we’re going to be making the links with the national campaign over pensions”, said Board.
Birmingham city council workers will also strike against a “nightmare contract” that could see low-paid care workers (earning less than £15,000) lose nearly 33% of their pay. Other workers stand to lose up to £6,000 from their annual salary.
According to Unison secretary Caroline Johnson, changes to hours and working time protocols in the new contracts mean “no more Monday to Friday; we’re all 24/7.”
Under the new terms, workers could be made to perform any role within a “job family” and could be forced to work evenings and weekends — in any location within the vast Birmingham conurbation — for no extra pay.
A programme of over 100 workplace meetings, including 30 in the last week, has helped rank-and-file members take ownership over the dispute. Over 800 workers have joined Unison since February.
The Doncaster and Birmingham strikes are due to take place on Wednesday 22 September.
On 23 September, workers at Shropshire council will walk out for 24 hours and march on a full council meeting as part of their battle against 5% pay cuts which management (like bosses at a host of other local authorities) is attempting to force through by threatening all 6,500 workers with dismissal unless they agree to the new terms.
The strike was endorsed by a ballot majority of 66%.
Workers will assemble at 9am in the Abbey Foregate car-park in Shrewsbury.