UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Strike by Birmingham UNISON as home carers face massive cut in pay

UNISON members Birmingham City Council are on strike today against cuts in pay and conditions designed to set services up for privatisation. The cuts will hit the lowest paid hardest, says the branch in a public leaflet. The council is cutting the pay and changing the contracts of 26,000 council staff. They are taking away the extra money that workers get for providing services at weekends, for working shifts and during unsocial hours. Home carers who care for the elderly and vulnerable in their own homes earn £14,500 a year and face cuts of £4,500 from their pay. That’s a loss of over £380 a month.

Leisure centre workers, library assistants, park workers, residential child care workers, security guards and many others all face losing thousands of pounds a year under the new contract.

Birmingham City Council want make it easier to privatise services so they are trying to change the employment contracts of all 26,000 council workers. Poorly paid staff and privatisation will lead to much worse services to the public.

But Council workers aren't the cause of this recession and should not be made to pay for the mistakes made by greedy bosses and bankers. There is no need for cuts in public services and further privatisation.

Graeme Horn, joint branch secretary of Birmingham UNISON, said the strike date had been selected as it was the last day of the Liberal Democrat conference, which is being held in the city.

"We are calling on the Liberal Democrats to think again about these cuts in pay for their own low-paid staff," he said.

"Our home carers, cooks, cleaners, residential care assistants, children's home workers and countless others just simply can't afford to have their pay cut by 30%, 20% or even 10%."