Report on the Refuse Workers strike 14/08/2017

One of our members has been closely following the refuse workers strike. 

Birmingham refuse workers from the Unite Union are taking a sixth week of strike action against the council’s proposals to cut jobs and change previously agreed terms and conditions. The industrial dispute has seen the workers increase action to three strike hours per day, as of 11/08/2017, Monday to Friday. Almost every worker at the Lifford Lane depot in Stirchley is picketing the main gate. Their resolve is stronger than ever.

This report follows on from report a fortnight ago and the MSB officers give 100% support for the industrial action, and firmly sent our message of solidarity to the workers taking it. We also completely distance our views from those of councillors who belong to any political party, or none, who choose to use this struggle as another platform to serve up devastating cuts that will continue to have the biggest effects to the public sector, and the working-class people of the city who use them and work within them.

The Birmingham Mail’s take on the industrial action has been, as is usually the case, heavily biased against the workers. One of its recent pieces is a thinly-veiled attack on the whole concept of collective industrial action (Neil Elle’s, 10/08/17, Birmingham Mail) and highlights a complete lack of understanding of working-class struggle. We expect nothing more from a paper that regularly blames the workers for the problems that have been created by the political class, introducing counter-productive systems with little or no consultation.

It is really important to look at the facts surrounding this dispute, and the workers on the picket line could write a lengthy book on it. These workers, the most class-conscious, politically-minded, and experts in their field, are fed-up with hearing the same old buzz words – “modernisation”, “productivity”, “challenging times.” They want to confront the real problems with real facts.

The bosses talk of “productivity”. So, it is reasonable to ask the questions. Narrowed down, the question for everybody might be; “How long does it take to empty a wheelie-bin?” Because the councillors have never emptied a bin in the same way as the workers have, day in, day out, they haven’t got a clue how long it takes. So to find out the facts, Momentum SB asked the workers on the picket line instead.


In our last report on the strike action we wrote about the one-size-fits-all approach that the council has taken to the time that it takes to empty a wheelie-bin. In doing this the council has entirely failed to consider the full logistics of the operation. One of the workers on the picket line told me about a number of properties on their round, where the wheelie bins cannot be left any less than 30 yards from the wagon. To correctly collect, empty and return a recycling bin from a property such as this involves a number of steps. After the sixty-yard initial round trip has been completed, the bin is opened and the pod (the paper/card recycling section) has to be removed and emptied. Because the pods are small, and many residents of Birmingham are so environmentally-conscious, the pods are often stuffed full with paper and card, and therefore it takes more than just turning the pod upside-down once to properly empty it. This adds more time to the job. Then the worker attaches the large wheelie-bin to the back of the wagon. This is the bin containing the cans, bottles and recyclable plastics, and can be very heavy. The bin is then lifted up, emptied, and comes back down, where it is released form the back of the wagon by the worker. The worker then picks up the pod from the floor, puts it back inside the wheelie-bin, and wheels the bin back up any kerbs and around any obstacles, for thirty yards and then puts it back. There are roads with thirty to forty properties like this. Workers question whether the councillors and bosses who are making the decisions to cut their jobs, based on the flimsy claim of increasing “productivity, and who have never had to empty a wheelie-bin in their lives, have taken roads like this into consideration, if at all.

If you factor in the assisted collections – where residents who are disabled or old require additional help to empty their bins – the process gets even longer. One worker told me that on their round there is a property with thirteen steps leading up to the property. At the top of the steps they have to manoeuvre through overgrown brambles and nettles to reach the bins. The dodging of brambles and nettles begins again as the worker wheels the heavy bin down back down the thirteen steps, the wheelie-bin behind them, back down to the pavement. After the bin is emptied correctly, the worker then climbs back up the thirteen steps, negotiates the overgrown garden with the bin behind them, replaces the bin, and descends the thirteen steps for a final time. This is for one property. Fifty-two steps, and not a clean run at that! This takes time, and the bosses completely fail to understand this.

Just as the large grass verge around Broadmeadow and Moneyhall Road, that separates the distance between the wheelie-bins and the wagon, takes a lot longer to travel than the councillors care to consider. Just as in some parts of the city, where the distance between the wagon and the wheelie-bins are separated by recreational areas, meaning that workers have to wheel the bins around lengthy paths, downhill and uphill in order to return them. Again, this takes time – but the councillors and bosses don’t factor this in. In their ignorance, they think that by cutting jobs from the refuse department, the service will somehow improve. And in their arrogance, they expect the general public to swallow this ridiculous claim.

The recycling collection in Birmingham has been effectively cancelled for over a fortnight. Darren Share, the Assistant Director of Waste Management at Birmingham City Council, has formally instructed workers to mix the recycling and refuse together. This means that the many residents that responsibly separate their refuse from the recyclable materials are wasting their time (Momentum SB urges everybody to still try to recycle as best they can – we only have one earth!). It’s all being taken to landfill. This looks awful on Birmingham as a city, and provides no incentive for people to use the recycling wheelie bins. The longer-term effects of this decision could mean that residents who previously took time to separate household waste from recycling materials may no longer do so in the future. This has huge environmental consequences, and the problems this decision has created should be laid squarely at the door of the council and the bosses who have given these orders and taken these destructive decisions.

Private companies have been given the contracts to collect the refuse from all of the tower blocks in Birmingham. In this poor attempt to undermine the workers, Birmingham City Council has created a paradox for its own weak arguments. Whilst trying to save money in the refuse department, they have incurred the costs of paying these private firms. How much extra is this costing the council? How much does this contradict the argument for making three-hundred-thousand pounds of savings? Momentum SB are sure that the residents of Birmingham would be very interested to find out these figures. If Birmingham City council really want to save money, why doesn’t it scrap these plans to cut the poorest hardest, and have a look at the incredible wages of the directors and some council positions? There are numerous salary packets that exceed five-times the salary of a grade-three refuse worker. Surely if this is a cost-cutting exercise the council should be looking to redress that balance by cutting the wages for those who are earning extortionate amounts. Momentum SB welcomes any new proposals to save money by reducing the wages of those people who are earning five-times as much as the grade-three refuse workers, whose jobs we wish to defend.

If you think that the private agencies and scab labour are doing a good-enough job, take a look outside your house. Have your bins been collected? Have your neighbour’s bins been collected? Walk to the next street. Have those roads been cleared? Now, compare your findings with the claim from the council that the majority of bins have been collected and the streets have been cleared. Does it look like the council has adequately managed the effects of the industrial action? Or does it look like the workers are seriously winning this dispute?


Political establishment venom, usually reserved for the working-class, has interestingly been partially redirected to the very councillors who are making these decisions (Matthew Snape Birmingham councillors condemn council’s inaction over bin strikes)

Momentum South Birmingham urges the council, who meet on the 15th of August, to scrap their proposals that led to this strike. If they do not, then it is more likely that they will have to worry about their jobs than the workers on the picket line.

Joint the picket line outside the four Birmingham depots! Every day, Monday to Friday, at the following times:

0700-0800​  1030-1130​  1330-1430.

The fascinating candidacy of Sundip Meghani

A source close to me reports back on a very interesting and slightly arbitrarily-chaired Harborne ward selection meeting on Thursday the 3rd August (when are Labour Party meetings ever held in August for goodness sake?) – attended by a paltry 14 out of probably a couple of hundred of eligible members.

Of the five candidates available to choose from for the two-member ward only three attended – it transpires that the other two were not contacted before the meeting and as they don’t live in the ward would have had no idea when and where the meeting would be unless they had been told.

This is a touch odd, and does raise a question about the legitimacy of the meeting from the outset.  

There were two ‘successful’ candidates – Jayne Francis and Sundip Meghani.

Jayne won the women’s slot unopposed – well done to her. She is, we hear, a popular and well-respected local councillor, but it’s noteworthy that there were at least 4 women who had expressed an interest in the ward who have applied to be on the panel but not had an interview or approval yet – despite promises being made at Birmingham Board and NEC level that women applicants would be fast-tracked……… these promises appear not to have been kept.

Sundip, the other ‘successful’ candidate, is a very interesting chap indeed.

 

More tellingly, his ‘activity diary’ is intriguingly bereft of much……activity.

Pisstake2

pisstake

For the uninitiated – an ‘activity diary’ is something that would-be councillors in Birmingham have to produce when they apply to show that they have worked hard over the last couple of years in support of the party – in theory it should exclude shysters and reward hard-working activists. In theory being the operative words here.

Sundip appears to have been initially turned down, managed to reverse the decision just in time for the Harborne meeting and got on the panel with an activity diary far emptier than people who have been turned down…. for having undertaken insufficient activity.

A lack of activity in and of itself isn’t a reason to exclude him – if he’s a good candidate he’s a good candidate. But when so many other applicants have been blocked because of insufficient activity it does appear that there is a serious inconsistency.

And despite repeated written and verbal requests to the CLP chair for conformation that Sundip’s expression of interest in the ward was submitted in time no evidence of the email exists and the chair is refusing to confirm whether he has received an email that he should, as chair, have received:

“HARBORNE:   2 vacancies, at least one woman to be selected – expressions of interest to panel@birmingham-labour.org.uk and tomkeeley.labour@me.com by 5.00 p.m. on Tuesday 1 August 2017.”  

*Source: the Birmingham Labour website


The whole episode does raise rather a lot of questions for the leadership of Edgbaston CLP and the West Midlands Regional Office. A few answers would certainly be appreciated.  

MW

 

Holiday Hunger Fundraising Campaign

Ladywood Community Project

Over the summer months Momentum South Birmingham members have been organising collections to support the Ladywood Community Project. Here are some words by Gerardine Giblin the project’s coordinator:

“The project is situated in the community centre in the heart of a social housing estate. We have a garden, a cooker, a washing machine and a tumble dryer and these are regularly used by families.

We listen to parents and try to pick up on the things that they struggle with

The biggest disadvantage facing our children and their families today is poverty  For working families and those on benefits these are still difficult times and we know that the number of children living in poverty in this ward is 5078(45.2%) some 24% higher than the rest of the country. Therefore many of our initiatives are designed to ease the burden of low income and the consequences that poverty brings.

 84% of children in Ladywood receive free school meals during term time and during the long summer break families face increasing costs through using more food, gas and electricity, as well as the costs of updating school uniforms, stationery, books etc

 For the past three years we have operated a holiday hunger scheme. We work in partnership with Birmingham Central Foodbank to give 100 families a food hamper. We ask businesses to ask their staff to contribute food items towards this. We have had contributions from about 12 different agencies including banks, solicitors, universities and this year we have also asked for cash contributions so that we can put money on gas/electricity cards and keys.

The food hampers should feed a family for 3 days and we have put £20 on fuel cards for each family.

Families are referred from Support and social work teams, debt and money advisors and the local credit union as well as the families we engage with.

We also operate other low/no cost activities and this year we have raised money to take 72 residents to the seaside.”

If anyone wishes to get involved with fundraising or volunteer to help us please contact Gerardine Giblin on 0121 455 5070 or email me at gerardine.giblin@ladywoodcommunityproject.org.uk

 

Certificate of appreciation HH2017

 

MSB Newsletter 07/08/17

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Welcome to the latest Momentum South Birmingham newsletter – your unmissable weekly digest of all the interesting things going on politically in our area and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who came along to our first MSB branch meeting since the general election was called yesterday – we had some excellent speakers and discussions about the issues of poverty and the ongoing refuse workers strike and our efforts on both will continue over the coming months. We also did a collection as part of our holiday hunger appeal – and the organisers, Cheryl Hedges and Nicola Brennan, have asked for the following message to be circulated:

“A big thank you to everyone’s kind donations for the Ladywood Project. As well as collecting lots of food, we’ve also raised £112 for gas and electric meters for families in need. We are still collecting throughout the summer so it’s not too late to donate. Please get in touch. Thank you again Nicky & Cheryl”

We also had our first Summer social on Friday – a good time was had by all and thanks again to Nicky for her efforts in making it such a success – we are lucky to have such a great team of activists who work hard all year long.

This week is relatively quiet one but there is plenty coming up from next weekend onwards…….

Anyway enjoy this week’s edition!

Refuse workers strike

One of the main items discussed yesterday was the ongoing refuse workers strike. While the council are obviously in an enormously difficult position with the cuts that the Tory government are forcing them to make members were also unhappy with the role that the Labour councillors have played up until this point. MSB members have been regularly attending the picket line at the Lifford Lane and one of our members has written a superb analysis of the strike which can be read here on our blog – please share amongst your contacts and networks – and also contact your local councillor urging them to offer support to the workers.

We will be continuing our efforts and please pop down to the picket line if you have a chance – the times this week are 6am-8am and 12:30pm-1:30pm until Friday when it changes to 7-8,10:30-11:30 then 12:30-13:30.

 

Birmingham Momentum Women’s Group –

Future meetings (next one 14th August)

Women Momentum members across Birmingham are now meeting regularly to discuss women’s position in the Labour Party and how to gain gender equality. It’s a safe space for Momentum and Labour women to come together to support each other, explore issues and plan campaigns.

The next meetings are:

  • Monday 14th August, at Loco Lounge (32/34 High Street Kings Heath, B14 7JT) at 7:30pm.
  • Monday 11th September – City centre location, TBC

 

South and North Birmingham Momentum at the Handsworth Carnival, 19th August

MSB are taking it Birmingham-wide on the 19th and helping our good friends in North Birmingham Momentum at the Handsworth Carnival – which is normally a pretty big event. We are running a stall from 10-4 so if you want to pop along and say hello then that would be lovely, even lovelier would be if you volunteered to help for an hour. Please drop us a line at MomentumbhamSouth@hotmail.com if you think you may have time.

 

Cyclists for Corbyn picnic – 27th August

If you are not away gallivanting on the Bank Holiday weekend by all means pop along on Sunday the 27th to the first Birmingham Cyclists for JC Picnic in Cannon Hill Park between 14:00 – 17:00. You do not need to be a cyclist to attend this event but bringing some food is essential! More details here.

 

Save the date – MSB Quiz Night 1st September!

We’ll be having another quiz night on 1st September- Details to be confirmed!

 

Next MSB book club – 19th September

Our inaugural book club meeting was held last week and reports coming back to MSB towers indicate that it was a fantastic event – many thanks to Cheryl Hedges for pulling it together. The next has been planned already and you have plenty of time to do the reading – it’s 10 Days that shook the world by John Reed. You can read it online here too.19th September, 7pm, Loco Lounge in Kings Heath.

Labour Conference fringe meeting, 25th September: “Economics for a progressive agenda”

The speaker is Professor Bill Mitchell, a leading proponent of Modern Monetary Theory. The meeting is being organised independently by a small group of Labour members whose goal is to start a conversation about re-framing our understanding of economics to match a progressive political agenda.

All are welcome and you don’t have to be a member of the Labour party to attend. It’s being held as a fringe event at the Labour Conference week in Brighton on Monday 25th September – 2pm to 5pm, at The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD.

Further details – go to http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/ and scroll to the end of any recent post – look for heading “Crowdfunding Request – Economics for a progressive agenda”

Holiday Hunger Appeal

School holidays are in full swing which means added pressure for families whose kids eat for free at school as they struggle to put meals on the table during the holidays. MSB will be organising food collections for our local food banks during the summer holidays. We are looking for: cereals, tinned foods, pasta, rice, biscuits, fruit juice, long life milk. Get in touch with Nicky Brennan or Cheryl Hedges and they can arrange collection/drop offs: email nicky151289@gmail.com or chezhedges@hotmail.com.

 

Ballots for Labour Conference Arrangements Committee

An important vote is coming up. It will shape Labour Party Conference. It will influence the future of our party. If you’re a Labour member you should receive an email ballot to vote for your representatives on the Conference Arrangement Committee (CAC). The CAC is the committee that decides how conference runs and what is debated. It is vital we elect Corbyn supporting activists on the committee. Momentum encourage you to vote for Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes. Both are experienced activists. Both support Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s transformation manifesto. Both want to see a conference that backs Corbyn. Volunteers will be phonebanking Momentum members to make sure they cast their vote. Shape the future of your party. Vote Seema and Billy. Ballot closes at Midday on the 8th September.

 

Northfield constituency dates for your diary

  • Longbridge ward campaigning this week, on 9th and 10th August, as follows;
  • Telephone Banking Wednesday 9 August, from 7pm until 8pm, 10, Rednal Mill Drive, B45 8XX
  • Doorknocking, Thurs 10 August, 6pm until 8pm, meet Kent Road
  • CLP Member & Supporter meeting: Friday 15th September from 7pm – will include discussion of CLP priorities for the 2018 City Council elections in both Northfield and Birmingham – more details to follow.

 

Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary

  • Nothing this week unfortunately!

 

Hall Green constituency dates for your diary

Moseley and Kings Heath dates:

  • 18 August Social for new members (and old): there’s no branch meeting in August, instead they are going to have a night out to welcome the 159 new members who have joined them since April (bringing our total to 668). Come and join them at the Hare & Hounds back room, Friday 18 August, from 6pm to 10pm. Entry free: donation optional. RSVP to lourobson@hotmail.comor via event listing on Facebook.
  • Campaign planning: The next campaigns committee meeting is on Monday August 21 — open to all members who want to contribute ideas and action. Please let Mark know at mp_banahan@hotmail.co.ukif you would like to attend.
  • Moseley and Kings Heath Labour Party Street Stall in Kings Heath, Saturday, August 26 at 10 am, Outside of Asda, Kings Heath High Street.

 

Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary

  • Billesley ward door-knocking for Selly Oak CLP, every Monday. The newly-constituted ward is seen as one of the toughest battles the party faces in the city next year. 6pm – the carpark on the junction of School Road and Highters Heath Lane – opposite McDonald’s.

 

Birmingham needs more women councillors!

Women in Momentum’s three Birmingham branches are now meeting regularly and the dates of their next two meeting are included in this newsletter. They have also produced an excellent article on improving the gender balance on Birmingham City Council. There have been some worrying rumours about attempts being made to water it down in some of the new wards – the way that we can challenge this is to oppose any dilution in our Labour Parties but also for women to stand as councillors. The piece can be read here – please share far and wide.

 

New to the Labour Party?

Many of us are fairly new to the party and it can be quite an intimidating environment with labyrinthine rules and procedures that are at times baffling – with all the different abbreviations and structures it can be like learning a new language! Momentum Sheffield (who look almost as amazing as MSB…..) have produced a very helpful guide for newcomers that explains the structures, rules, terms and puts things in day-to-day language. It’s worth a read even if you are an experienced old hand! A link to the document is here.

 

Defend our children’s centres!

26 children’s centres are at risk of closure across the city. While Birmingham City Council is an almost impossible position due to the cuts it is being forced to make by the Tory government, these centres provide early education and day care for children from 6 months to 5 years and are a vital service for families. Numerous consultation meetings are taking place across the city (list is here), there is an online consultation form to complete and there is more useful information here. There are two consultation meetings remaining – a number of Momentum supporters attended the one at the Council House on Friday the 28th July so you will not be alone if you go along to have your say!

  • Acocks Green Library 9th August 10.30 -12.30
  • Kings Heath Library 10th August 10.30 – 12.30

 

Keep Our NHS Public Birmingham

KONPB do a huge amount of brilliant work and a number of Momentum activists are already involved in meetings and activity, but they are always in need of more help.

For those who are interested in supporting and/or joining KONP and contributing to campaigns their contact details are btuchcc@hotmail.com.

Currently KONPB have campaigns on the proposed NHS “Transformation” plans (cuts and privatisation) in Brum/Solihull and Black Country; the privately-financed Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick (PFI/2) and have recently set up a ‘Mental Health Interest Group’, which is planning to do some more work on the mental health arrangements for young people 0-25 years in Birmingham – currently ‘red risk’.

Meetings are 1st Wednesday of every month (except August), so people can drop in any time at The Wellington, 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN.

Please get involved in, and support, KONPB in any way you can.

South Birmingham Momentum T-Shirts

Not before time in our view, wear it with pride: MSB t-shirts are going to be ordered: £10 for members and £12 for none-members (another compelling reason to join Momentum!) red with Birmingham Momentum on it and a big picture of Jeremy! If you would like one email nicky151289@gmail.com, they are available in medium, large or extra-large.

 

‘Regional’ Momentum co-ordination

Cecile Wright, one of our elected NGC reps for the large ‘region’ that Birmingham and the West Midlands sits in, would like to keep in touch about how she can best open communication with us to better represent us on the Momentum Council. She wants people to feel free to get in touch with her and her email is c.wright230@ntlworld.com. As things develop further post-conference we’ll keep you informed.

 

School cuts

The NUT have set up a school cuts website providing information on what is going on and the likely effects. You can email your MP through the website, it only takes a minute. Please click here. Since the New Year a number of parents groups have sprung up across the country to fight for more funding for our schools. It is an important development that parents have started to organise because Governments cross parents at their peril. Please visit their website.

 

MSB social media classes and blog pitches

Nicky Brennan, one of our social media managers, has started running classes if you are uninitiated in Facebook and Twitter etc. and want to learn more about how to make best use of them – they are crucial part of modern political campaigning and you are never too old to learn something new! If you’re interested get in touch with Nicky: nicky151289@gmail.com

We are also looking to get more original content on our blog – it is a somewhat underused resource for discussing ideas and giving our members a platform to write about the issues of concern to them. Drop Nicky a line if you have any ideas – particularly if they are about local issues and our campaigning – or things you think we should be doing more on and want to draw attention to.

 

Ward and CLP meetings

If you want the group to publicise upcoming local Labour Party activities and branch and CLP meetings to encourage attendance, please let us know either by emailing me direct or the group account below; our wonderful social media managers Kate, Lucy, Nicky and Sam will do the rest!

 

https://www.facebook.com/momentumbirminghamsouth/ 

https://momentumsbham.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/@MomentumSBham/ 

MomentumbhamSouth@hotmail.com

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/momentum-south-birmingham

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/wall-of-fame

To join Momentum: https://join.peoplesmomentum.com/

“Where’s the councillors? Why aren’t the councillors here to discuss this with us?” 

Down at the picket line with the Birmingham refuse workers 

For the past few weeks the refuse workers in Birmingham have been in dispute with Birmingham City Council over proposed changes to pay-grades, terms and conditions, and levels of public safety. Workers from the Unite union are now beginning a third week of industrial action. I went down to Lifford Lane depot this morning to find out more about the dispute.
There were a large number of workers on the picket line this morning. I introduced myself, telling them that I was a Labour Party member, and that I wanted to find out more about the dispute, but through the workers themselves, and not just those who had the fortune of having their views published, often exclusively, by the local mainstream media. Immediately, one of the striking workers exclaimed, “Where’s the councillors? Why aren’t the councillors here to discuss this with us?” This was an issue that was raised time and again throughout the morning, and contributed to a genuinely angry atmosphere on the picket line. Workers were collectively angry that councillors did not seem to be engaging with them. Moreover, they felt like they were being ignored by the political class who distance themselves from the realities of real worker’s struggles and real working-class life.

Part of the dispute is about a pay and grade review, where previously agreed pay levels linked to skill grades are threatened by council proposals. One worker was disgusted with the language that has been used by councillors. “They call it ‘modernisation’ – we call it job cuts,” he said. “We’re out doing this job year on year, we’ve told the council how we need to modernise, how we need to improve efficiency. They ignore us, yet they have no experience of doing our jobs.” Some workers spoke of the inefficiency of the council’s long-standing policy of relying on agency staff – some who have been doing the job for over a decade – rather than take the workers on permanent contracts. “Hardly modern, is it? But they do not listen,” grumbled another disgruntled worker.

Workers complained at the attitude of the council. “They won’t come to the table,” they said. “They have their view of ‘modernisation’, and that’s it.” Another angry worker told me that the proposed changes will mean the scrapping or downgrading of the grade 3 post. This is a safety-critical post. It concerns the very workers who are trained and skilled to drive the vehicles. One only has to think of the size of the wagons that are used in the huge operation of moving Birmingham’s rubbish to imagine the carnage that could occur if cuts to safety are allowed.

And what for the future? If the council can alter conditions and get rid of previously agreed terms then what is stopping them doing it again in the future? Could councillors simply abolish grades, after, in the words of Unite regional officer, Lynne Shakespeare, “woefully inadequate consultation”?

Council attempts to redefine the job are another slap in the face for the workers. They stressed that the job hasn’t changed at all – people still need to have their rubbish collected – but the conditions have. Expectations of time had been put on workers, especially since the introduction of wheelie-bins, but the council had shown arrogant disregard with a one-size-fits-all policy. The view that there is no difference is removing refuse from a wheelie-bin from two completely different areas in two completely different houses is as ludicrous as it is ignorant. Add to this the policy of side-waste – waste that is left OUTSIDE of the bins, that workers are not contracted to take, but bosses have instructed them to collect – then the time constraints become even clearer. Furthermore there are special requests from residents, for example, some elderly residents who cannot physically move their wheelie-bin on to the pavement, so leave it at the top of their drive. Both the council and the workers want to get this waste collected, but it is seemingly only the workers who recognise that this takes more time.

The points made by the workers were plentiful and detailed. Previous projects that had wasted many times more than the predicted savings were to make, ignoring the cost-saving advice of the unions and not listening to the solutions offered by the workers, the false offer of equivalent employment, the privatisation of the vehicle mechanics and maintenance, the lack of assessment on a variety of health and safety issues and the failure to correctly survey properties were just a sample of the points that were made.

The workers were clear:

• These proposals will not improve the service, they will make it worse.

• If the workers don’t stand up for their jobs now, the council will move to make even deeper cuts in the future.

• People never noticed the refuge workers……..until they weren’t there.

South Birmingham Momentum sends its true solidarity to the Birmingham refuse workers and supports their action 100%. We DON’T want a city with a fourth-rate, underfunded refuse collection service. We DON’T want the safety of all of us to be jeopardised in the name of austerity. We DON’T want the council to attack Birmingham’s most valuable assets – those workers who I met today. If we want to reduce pay, perhaps we should start at the top, those in senior council positions with fat-cat salaries that are in excess of ten-times the amount of some of the workers I spoke to today.

We DO want to show our solidarity with the refuse workers. We can do this by attending the picket lines every day until we win this dispute. Workers will be on strike outside Lifford Lane depot every weekday morning between 6am and 8am and every weekday afternoon between 1230pm and 130pm. Members of the Labour Party can further show solidarity by passing resolutions at ward and constituency level that support the industrial action of the refuge workers and oppose the council proposals that amount to nothing more than an assault on the working-class of this great city, and a guarantee of a worse service.

MSB newsletter 31/07/17

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Welcome to the latest Momentum South Birmingham newsletter – your unmissable weekly digest of all the interesting things going on politically in our area and beyond.

MSB is something of a trend-setting organisation I’m sure you’ll agree, for many reasons. For example, while a lot of political activity grinds to a halt in August we aren’t going to – there is too much going on and while we all need a break we can still organise a few things in between! Also there are a number of Labour Party 2018 local election selection meetings going on early in the month or which have been held already – this may be down to keen-ness to get campaigning, or maybe something else entirely……….

There are several MSB meetings coming up including our inaugural book club tomorrow, our latest campaigns committee meeting – next Monday- and the next MSB main branch meeting is this Sunday the 6th August – this time in Harborne. We also have our important Holiday Hunger Appeal – this is a big issue over the summer and a theme we will keep returning to.  

 

MSB Book Club:

George Orwell’s ‘Road to Wigan Pier’, August 1st

Our inaugural book club meeting is on the 1st August! It’ll be at 7pm at Loco Lounge on Kings Heath High Street. Members will be discussing Orwell’s ‘Road to Wigan Pier’. If you want to join in or need any information email chezhedges@hotmail.com.

 

Save the date – MSB Summer Party on the 4th August!

Just a date for your diaries – our Summer Party will be on Friday the 4th August -the downstairs room at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath from 7:30pm. It’s a free event. With a raffle!

 

**Next MSB branch meeting: 6th August**

Our next MSB members meeting will be on Sunday the 6th August at a venue we haven’t met at for a very long time – Moor Pool Hall (main hall). They’ll be loads to discuss including the refuse workers strike and how we can support them if the dispute is going to continue for a while. We’ll also be having a food bank collection as part of the holiday hunger appeal that several of our members have organised – more details below and please bring donations if you have anything spare. The meeting is at 15:30 – Moor Pool Hall is at 37 The Circle, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9DY.

The usual rules apply – members of other political parties that are opposed to Labour cannot attend unfortunately.

 

Next MSB campaigns/stalls meeting: 7th August.

Our stalls co-ordinator Chris has organised the next meeting of the stalls committee on Monday the 7th August, 10am, at Loco Lounge, Kings Heath High Street. Chris is always on the lookout for people to join the committee. Stalls and campaigning have been crucial to the development of the group. You might even get your picture taken with John McDonnell! Email Chriskuriata@live.co.uk for more info.

 

Birmingham Momentum Women’s Group –

Future meetings (next one 14th August)

Women Momentum members across Birmingham are now meeting regularly to discuss women’s position in the Labour Party and how to gain gender equality. It’s a safe space for Momentum and Labour women to come together to support each other, explore issues and plan campaigns.

 

The next meetings are:

  • Monday 14th August, at Loco Lounge (32/34 High Street Kings Heath, B14 7JT) at 7:30pm.
  • Monday 11th September – City centre location, TBC

 

Save the date – MSB Quiz Night 1st September!

We’ll be having another quiz night on 1st September- Details to be confirmed!

 

Holiday Hunger Appeal

School holidays are in full swing which means added pressure for families whose kids eat for free at school as they struggle to put meals on the table during the holidays. MSB will be organising food collections for our local food banks during the summer holidays. We are looking for: cereals, tinned foods, pasta, rice, biscuits, fruit juice, long life milk….

 

Get in touch with Nicky Brennan or Cheryl Hedges and they can arrange collection/drop offs: email nicky151289@gmail.com or chezhedges@hotmail.com.

 

Ballots for Labour Conference Arrangements Committee

An important vote is coming up. It will shape Labour Party Conference. It will influence the future of our party.

Today, if you’re a Labour member you should receive an email ballot to vote for your representatives on the Conference Arrangement Committee (CAC). The CAC is the committee that decides how conference runs and what is debated. It is vital we elect Corbyn supporting activists on the committee.

Momentum encourage you to vote for Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes. Both are experienced activists. Both support Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s transformation manifesto. Both want to see a conference that backs Corbyn. 

Volunteers will be phonebanking Momentum members to make sure they cast their vote.

Shape the future of your party. Vote Seema and Billy. Ballot closes at Midday on the 8th September.

 

Northfield constituency dates for your diary

  • Nothing in the diary this week: there were a couple of selections last week and things usually wind down in August.

 

Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary

  • Harborne ward selection meeting: Thursday 3rd August at the Moor Pool Lower Hall, The Circle, Harborne, B17 9DY. You should have received a letter informing you – if you think are eligible to vote and haven’t then let us know.

 

Hall Green constituency dates for your diary

Moseley and Kings Heath dates:

  • 18 August Social for new members (and old): there’s no branch meeting in August, instead they are going to have a night out to welcome the 159 new members who have joined them since April (bringing our total to 668). Come and join them at the Hare & Hounds back room, Friday 18 August, from 6pm to 10pm. Entry free: donation optional. RSVP to lourobson@hotmail.comor via event listing on Facebook.
  • Campaign planning: The next campaigns committee meeting is on Monday August 21 — open to all members who want to contribute ideas and action. Please let Mark know at mp_banahan@hotmail.co.ukif you would like to attend.

Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary

  • Billesley ward door-knocking for Selly Oak CLP, every Monday. The newly-constituted ward is seen as one of the toughest battles the party faces in the city next year. 6pm – the carpark on the junction of School Road and Highters Heath Lane – opposite McDonald’s.

 

Birmingham needs more women councillors!

Women in Momentum’s three Birmingham branches are now meeting regularly and the dates of their next two meeting are included in this newsletter. They have also produced an excellent article on improving the gender balance on Birmingham City Council. There have been some worrying rumours about attempts being made to water it down in some of the new wards – the way that we can challenge this is oppose any dilution in our Labour Parties but also for women to stand as councillors. The piece can be read here – please share far and wide.

 

New to the Labour Party?

Many of us are fairly new to the Labour Party and it can be quite an intimidating environment with labyrinthine rules and procedures that are at times baffling – with all the different abbreviations and structures it can be like learning a new language! Momentum Sheffield (who look almost as amazing as MSB…..) have produced a very helpful guide for newcomers that explains the structures, rules, terms and puts things in day-to-day language. It’s worth a read even if you are an experienced old hand! A link to the document is here.

 

Defend our children’s centres!

26 children’s centres are at risk of closure across the city. While Birmingham City Council is an almost impossible position due to the cuts it is being forced to make by the Tory government, these centres provide early education and day care for children from 6 months to 5 years and are a vital service for families. Numerous consultation meetings are taking place across the city (list is here), there is an online consultation form to complete and there is more useful information here. There are three consultation meetings remaining – a number of Momentum supporters attended the one at the Council House on Friday the 28th so you will not be alone if you go along to have your say!

  • Mere Green Library. 1st August 10.30 – 12.30
  • Acocks Green Library 9th August 10.30 -12.30
  • Kings Heath Library 10th August 10.30 – 12.30

 

KONP Birmingham

KONPB do a huge amount of brilliant work but are always in need of more help. For those who are interested in supporting and/or joining KONP and contributing to campaigns their contact details are btuchcc@hotmail.com.

Meetings are 1st Wednesday of every month (except August), so people can drop in any time at The Wellington, 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN.

Currently KONPB have campaigns on the STPs in Brum/Solihull and Black Country. the Midland Metropolitan Hospital (PFI/2) and they are looking to do some more work on the mental health arrangements for young people 0-25 years in Birmingham – currently ‘red risk’.

Please get involved in, and support, KONPB in any way you can.

 

South Birmingham Momentum T-Shirts

Not before time in our view, wear it with pride: MSB t-shirts are going to be ordered: £10 for members and £12 for none-members (another compelling reason to join Momentum!) red with Birmingham Momentum on it and a big picture of Jeremy! If you would like one email nicky151289@gmail.com, they are available in medium, large or extra-large.

 

‘Regional’ Momentum co-ordination

Cecile Wright, one of our elected NGC reps for the large ‘region’ that Birmingham and the West Midlands sits in, would like to keep in touch about how she can best open communication with us to better represent us on the Momentum Council. She wants people to feel free to get in touch with her and her email is c.wright230@ntlworld.com. As things develop further post-conference we’ll keep you informed.

 

School cuts

The NUT have set up a school cuts website providing information on what is going on and the likely effects. You can email your MP through the website, it only takes a minute. Please click here. Since the New Year a number of parents groups have sprung up across the country to fight for more funding for our schools. It is an important development that parents have started to organise because Governments cross parents at their peril. Please visit their website.

 

MSB social media classes and blog pitches

Nicky Brennan, one of our social media managers, has started running classes if you are uninitiated in Facebook and Twitter etc. and want to learn more about how to make best use of them – they are crucial part of modern political campaigning and you are never too old to learn something new! If you’re interested get in touch with Nicky: nicky151289@gmail.com

We are also looking to get more original content on our blog – it is a somewhat underused resource for discussing ideas and giving our members a platform to write about the issues of concern to them. Drop Nicky a line if you have any ideas – particularly if they are about local issues and our campaigning – or things you think we should be doing more on and want to draw attention to.

 

Ward and CLP meetings

If you want the group to publicise upcoming local Labour Party activities and branch and CLP meetings to encourage attendance, please let us know either by emailing me direct or the group account below; our wonderful social media managers Kate, Lucy, Nicky and Sam will do the rest!

 

https://www.facebook.com/momentumbirminghamsouth 

https://momentumsbham.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/@MomentumSBham/

MomentumbhamSouth@hotmail.com

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/momentum-south-birmingham

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/wall-of-fame

To join Momentum: https://join.peoplesmomentum.com/

MSB Newsletter 24/07/17

cropped-cropped-cropped-momentum-cover-photo-61.jpg

Welcome to the latest Momentum South Birmingham newsletter – your unmissable weekly digest of all the interesting things going on politically in our area and beyond.

There isn’t a massive amount of new stuff this week as summer is now upon us an unlike the last two years there isn’t a leadership election to fight. This weekend saw the Edgbaston CLP AGM, where the right-wing of our party showed how uninterested in democracy and pluralism many of them are, and a successful demo in town defending children’s centres.

Ballots for the Conference Arrangements Committee are still open for a few weeks yet and the next MSB meeting is pencilled in for the 6th August – more details to follow when we have finalised a few details – sorry about the delays! We also have our important Holiday Hunger Appeal getting under way properly – more details immediately below – this is a big issue over the summer.

 

Holiday Hunger Appeal

School holidays are starting this week which means added pressure for families whose kids eat for free at school as they struggle to put meals on the table during the holidays. MSB will be organising food collections for our local food banks during the summer holidays. We are looking for: cereals, tinned foods, pasta, rice, biscuits, fruit juice, long life milk….

Get in touch with Nicky Brennan or Cheryl Hedges and they can arrange collection/drop offs: email nicky151289@gmail.com or chezhedges@hotmail.com.

 

MSB Book Club:

George Orwell’s ‘Road to Wigan Pier’, August 1st

Our inaugural book club meeting is on the 1st August! It’ll be at 7pm at Loco Lounge on Kings Heath High Street. Members will be discussing Orwell’s ‘Road to Wigan Pier’. If you want to join in or need any information email chezhedges@hotmail.com.

Save the date – MSB Summer Party on the 4th August!

Just a date for your diaries – our Summer Party will be on Friday the 4th August -the downstairs room at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath from 7:30pm. It’s a free event. With a raffle! More publicity to follow!

Birmingham Momentum Women’s Group –

Future meetings (next one 14th August)

Women Momentum members across Birmingham are now meeting regularly to discuss women’s position in the Labour Party and how to gain gender equality. It’s a safe space for Momentum and Labour women to come together to support each other, explore issues and plan campaigns.

The next meetings are:

  • Monday 14th August, at Loco Lounge (32/34 High Street Kings Heath, B14 7JT) at 7:30pm.
  • Monday 11th September – City centre location, TBC

 

Save the date – MSB Quiz Night 1st September!

We’ll be having another quiz night on 1st September- Details to be confirmed!

 

Ballots for Labour Conference Arrangements Committee

An important vote is coming up. It will shape Labour Party Conference. It will influence the future of our party.

Today, if you’re a Labour member you should receive an email ballot to vote for your representatives on the Conference Arrangement Committee (CAC). The CAC is the committee that decides how conference runs and what is debated. It is vital we elect Corbyn supporting activists on the committee.

Momentum encourage you to vote for Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes. Both are experienced activists. Both support Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s transformation manifesto. Both want to see a conference that backs Corbyn. 

Volunteers will be phonebanking Momentum members to make sure they cast their vote.

Shape the future of your party. Vote Seema and Billy. Ballot closes at Midday on the 8th September.

 

Northfield constituency dates for your diary

  • Longbridge Ward phonebanking; 26 July, 7pm-8pm, at 10 Rednal Mill Drive, Rednal, B45 8XX
  • King’s Norton Ward; 26 July, 7pm; Councillor selection meeting for new King’s Norton South ward, followed by monthly ward meeting, at NORTH HALL, St Nicolas Place, 81 The Green, Kings Norton, Birmingham, B38 8RU. Please note; all members of the existing King’s Norton ward are welcome to attend and ask question of the councillor candidates, but only residents living in the new King’s Norton South ward will be able to vote. Please do your best to attend this important meeting if you live in the new ward!

 

Edgbaston constituency dates for your diary

  • Nothing this week – the CLP leadership are probably too tired after their delightful antics at the AGM on Saturday.

 

Hall Green constituency dates for your diary

  • Nothing this week – keep an eye out in future editions for upcoming events!

 

Selly Oak constituency dates for your diary

  • Billesley ward door-knocking, every Monday. The newly-constituted ward is seen as one of the toughest for Labour in Selly Oak and therefore every Monday members will be out talking to local residents. 6pm – the carpark on the junction of School Road and Highters Heath Lane – opposite McDonald’s.
  • 00 Tuesday 25 July: Envelope stuffing at 16 Jervoise Road, B29 5QU.
  • Selly Oak CLP all-members meeting: Thursday July 27th, St Andrews Methodist Church, Cartland Road, Stirchley, B30 2RD, 7.30pm – 9.00pm.

 

Birmingham needs more women councillors!

Women in Momentum’s three Birmingham branches are now meeting regularly and the dates of their next two meetings are further down this newsletter. They have also produced an excellent article on improving the gender balance on Birmingham City Council. There have been some worrying rumours about attempts being made to water it down in some of the new wards – the way that we can challenge this is oppose any dilution in our Labour Parties but also for women to stand as councillors. The piece can be read here – please share far and wide.

 

New to the Labour Party?

Many of us are fairly new to the Labour Party and it can be quite an intimidating environment with labyrinthine rules and procedures that are at times baffling – with all the different abbreviations and structures it can be like learning a new language! Momentum Sheffield (who look almost as amazing as MSB…..) have produced a very helpful guide for newcomers that explains the structures, rules, terms and puts things in day-to-day language. It’s worth a read even if you are an experienced old hand! A link to the document is here.

 

Defend our children’s centres!

26 children’s centres are at risk of closure across the city. While Birmingham City Council is an almost impossible position due to the cuts it is being forced to make by the Tory government, these centres provide early education and day care for children from 6 months to 5 years and are a vital service for families. Numerous consultation meetings are taking place across the city (list is here), there is an online consultation form to complete and there is more useful information here. Many thanks to everyone who attended the demo on Saturday.

 

KONP Birmingham

KONPB do a huge amount of brilliant work but are always in need of more help. For those who are interested in supporting and/or joining KONP and contributing to campaigns their contact details are btuchcc@hotmail.com.

Meetings are 1st Wednesday of every month (except August), so people can drop in any time at The Wellington, 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN.

Currently KONPB have campaigns on the STPs in Brum/Solihull and Black Country. the Midland Metropolitan Hospital (PFI/2) and they are looking to do some more work on the mental health arrangements for young people 0-25 years in Birmingham – currently ‘red risk’.

Please get involved in, and support, KONPB in any way you can.

 

South Birmingham Momentum T-Shirts

Not before time in our view, wear it with pride: MSB t-shirts are going to be ordered: £10 for members and £12 for none-members (another compelling reason to join Momentum!) red with Birmingham Momentum on it and a big picture of Jeremy! If you would like one email nicky151289@gmail.com, they are available in medium, large or extra-large.

 

‘Regional’ Momentum co-ordination

Cecile Wright, one of our elected NGC reps for the large ‘region’ that Birmingham and the West Midlands sits in, would like to keep in touch about how she can best open communication with us to better represent us on the Momentum Council. She wants people to feel free to get in touch with her and her email is c.wright230@ntlworld.com. As things develop further post-conference we’ll keep you informed.

 

School cuts

The NUT have set up a school cuts website providing information on what is going on and the likely effects. You can email your MP through the website, it only takes a minute. Please click here. Since the New Year a number of parents groups have sprung up across the country to fight for more funding for our schools. It is an important development that parents have started to organise because Governments cross parents at their peril. Please visit their website.

 

MSB social media classes and blog pitches

Nicky Brennan, one of our social media managers, has started running classes if you are uninitiated in Facebook and Twitter etc. and want to learn more about how to make best use of them – they are crucial part of modern political campaigning and you are never too old to learn something new! If you’re interested get in touch with Nicky: nicky151289@gmail.com

We are also looking to get more original content on our blog – it is a somewhat underused resource for discussing ideas and giving our members a platform to write about the issues of concern to them. Drop Nicky a line if you have any ideas – particularly if they are about local issues and our campaigning – or things you think we should be doing more on and want to draw attention to.

 

Ward and CLP meetings

If you want the group to publicise upcoming local Labour Party activities and branch and CLP meetings to encourage attendance, please let us know either by emailing me direct or the group account below; our wonderful social media managers Kate, Lucy, Nicky and Sam will do the rest!

 

https://www.facebook.com/momentumbirminghamsouth/

https://momentumsbham.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/@MomentumSBham/

MomentumbhamSouth@hotmail.com

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/momentum-south-birmingham

http://www.leftwardtendency.co.uk/wall-of-fame

To join Momentum: https://join.peoplesmomentum.com/