Birmingham Trades Council expressing solidarity with Asylum seekers and refugees

At our most recent delegate meeting on 3rd September 2020, Birmingham Trades Union Council delegates unanimously passed a motion in support of refugees and asylum seekers. Delegates also resolutely condemned the actions of far-right groups like Britain First, who are targeting hotels housing refugees and asylum seekers in the West Midlands and videoing themselves doing so. At a time when the far right continue to cause those in need to fear for their safety, delegates lent their resolved solidarity.

It’s important to stress the following points:

•         Anti-racism and solidarity must be at the heart of our trade unionism and the labour movement as a whole. Refugees and asylum seekers flee persecution, war, poverty and devastation to seek safety and refuge in the UK, as is their right.

•         The labour movement must be at the forefront of challenging that hate and hysteria. Birmingham Trade Union Council stand ready to work with all allies in that effort. We will seek to support organisations on the frontline of support, as far as we are able

•         Britain First are not acting in a vacuum. A climate of hate and hysteria has been created against refugees, asylum seekers and indeed migrants as a whole cohort by the politicians pursuing a hostile environment and the media.

• In only focusing on a need to harden its borders,         Britain has failed to take account of its moral and legal obligations to support and house refugees and asylum seekers.

•         The labour movement must be at the forefront of challenging that hate and hysteria. Birmingham Trade Union Council stand ready to work with all allies in that effort.

•         The housing of refugees is currently contracted to Serco in the West Midlands, who have a track record of winning huge outsourced contracts and failing to deliver them properly. The stories of refugees being treated appallingly at their hands are long standing. Such terrible conditions illustrate again the failure of the neoliberal outsourcing model, with basic respect for dignity and humanity has been lost in the pursuits of profit.

•         Birmingham City Council have suffered savage cuts to their funding since 2010 and the pressures have only increased during the pandemic. However, we must ensure that BCC does not downgrade or reduce its support to the most systematically marginalised people in our community. Central government must provide BCC with sufficient resources to house and support refugees. BCC ought to seek these additional resources but also campaign to end the involvement of outsourced providers such as Serco, instead calling for a devolution of this responsibility to local authorities. We will be writing to Councillor Ian Ward, the leader of BCC, to request the same.

We’ll also be writing to all of our branches with a copy of the motion and a copy of this statement. We will additionally request branches join us in supporting relief efforts on the ground, in the form of donations (both in kind and financial) and volunteer support, where possible. We will endeavour to keep in close contact with frontline organisations and continue sharing information on how to support refugees and asylum seekers. 

In solidarity,

Birmingham Trade Union Council

Recording of the BTUC Delegates Meeting of 3rd of September 2020

Howard Beckett, UNITE Jess Phillips MP Birmingham Yardley Waseem Zafar Birmingham Councillor and Cabinet Member
Q&A following with speakers at the BTUC 3rd September 2020

BTUC Delegate Meeting 7 pm Thursday the 3rd Sept 2020

The next delegate meeting of the Birmingham Trades Council will take place over the zoom on Thursday the 3rd of September 7 pm.

The meeting is being held under exceptional circumstances where many of our affiliates are busy protecting jobs that are under threat as a consequence of the Corona crisis. If any of the delegates or their unions are engaged in a dispute please let us know and we will try and make roon on the agenda to discuss the dispute.

We have an impressive list of speakers and they include:

  1. Jess Phillips Member of Parliament for Yardley will be speaking Covid-19 and Domestic violence
  2. Councillor Waseem Zafar speaking on environment and clean air zone.
  3. Howard Beckett from UNIITE will be speaking on the BA dispute.

The meeting is being held over the zoom because of Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

You can join the meeting using the following credentials.

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BTUC in Solidarity with Enrico La Rocca PCS member

“At an extraordinary delegates meeting on the 6th August, Birmingham TUC discussed and unanimously passed a motion in solidarity with Enrico La Rocca, recently dismissed by the Department of Work and Pensions after 27 years of service.

Enrico has been dismissed for exposing “shocking ineptitude” (the words of the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, not ours) at the DWP in relation to their treatment of recipients of the Carers Allowance.

We offer Enrico and all workers facing punishment for whistleblowing and doing the right thing our solidarity and we hope we will be joined in doing so by the whole labour movement.

Enrico has been punished for doing the right thing and that is a disgrace.

You can read more here: https://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/whistleblower-dismissed-by-dwp

In Solidarity

The Officers of Birmingham Trades Council”

Tim Martin Musician and Singer


Tim Martin

Singer/song writer available to perform songs at political events &

protests as well as private bookings (MU Rates)

Facebook please search for Tim’s Protest Songs

Email: timpletimbo@gmail.com

Tel: 07941141428

BTUC Delegate Meeting 6th August 2020 7 pm (Zoom)

Birmingham Trades Union Council is holding an extraordinary delegates meeting on the 6th August. The meeting is being held over the zoom. Under normal circumstances BTUC does not meet in August. However, because of unprecedented circumstances the Labour movement and the Trade Unionists face we have decided to hold the extra ordinary delegates meeting in August.

The meeting will be hearing from Trade Unionists who are currently engaged in disputes with their employers either to protect their jobs or protecting their conditions of employment. These include UNISON representatives from Tower Hamlets, PCS member talking about the victimisation of one of its members. Also, there will local trade unionists talking about what our affiliates and their members might soon face in Birmingham as Birmingham Council grapples with the deficit caused by the Corona virus and years of austerity. Joanne Shemmans who is actively engaged on the homeless issues will be talking about the housing situation in Birmingham and how it effects some of the most vulnerable families and individuals in the city.

Tower Hamlets UNISON assistant branch secretary Kerie Anne said: “It’s shocking that a Labour council would resort to sacking and re-engaging staff in order to force through unpopular and unfair contract changes.     

“It beggars belief that workers who’ve put their health on the line to deliver critical services throughout the pandemic are being treated in this way.”

Trade unionists are being urged to send solidarity messages to a PCS rep dismissed after whistleblowing at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Enrico La Rocca, who had worked for the DWP for more than 27 years, lost his job in May after highlighting serious concerns with management over a number of years. His complaints resulted in questions being asked about the department’s handling of Carer’s Allowance overpayments by the National Audit Office (NAO) and raised by in a Work and Pensions Select Committee report.

Join Zoom Meeting by following the link below
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BTUC Meeting (Zoom) on Racism and Black Lives Matter Thursday, the 16th July 2020 7 pm

The death of George Floyd while being arrested by the Police force in the US highlighted institutional racism within the police force and other state institutions. The accused police officer had previously been fifteen complaints of abuse over his twenty year career. This has resulted in demands de-funding the police force eradicating racism within institutions of the state.

Similar incidences, with multiple deaths in custody in this country, including in Birmingham suggest significant presence of institutional racism within our state institutions and in particular within the police and judicial services.

Birmingham Trades Union Council has organised a meeting the issues around racism and we can help combat racism in all its form and in particular within our institutions and societal structures.

Join Zoom Meeting by following the link below
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BTUC Meeting on Economic and Employment impact of Covid19 in the Midlands

Thursday the 9th of July 7 pm – via Zoom

The meeting is called to discuss the gravity of the looming economic crisis and its effect on employment in the region. Key union representatives have been invited to speak about how the unions propose to overcome the crisis which could see millions of workers being left unemployed across the country. After the key speakers have spoken there will be an opportunity for attandees to ask questions and discuss with the panel the impact of the covid 19 on employment in the region and how they can be circumvented. Please join us.

Asif Mohammed who will be speaking from a trade union perspective on the West Midlands manufacturing base, their concerns and policies for future developments. Asif is chair the UNITE’s regional committee.Stefan

Cholewka will be expressing concerns on the short & long term effects of covid-19 on the manufacturing base.Stefan is from the Manchester TUC

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BTUC Delegate Meeting 2nd July 7 pm (Zoom)

Speakers include

John Rees from the Campaign to stop Extradition of Julian Assange

Keith Venables speaking on the National Health Service

Tim Martin will provide musical entertainment

The campaign to stop the extradition of Julian Assange is an important campaign to defend journalistic freedom and the campaign

is supported by the National Union of Journalists. Wiki-links is most famous for releasing a military video from a US helicopter which

guns down dozens of unarmed Iraqi civilians in central Baghdad, a blatant attack on civilians which was clearly a war crime. Even

the American prosecutors accept that no US military personnel has been harmed by the rele

ase of the Wiki-link files.

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BTUC Delegate meeting Thursday 4th June 2020 7 pm

Pre delegate meeting interview with Ian Scott, President of BTUC on Corona crisis and its impact or Trade Unionists and other working communities

Alternatively, use the following details to join the meeting over the zoom

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Delegates meeting Discussing the Corona Virus and its impact on the economy and how we as part of the Trade Union movement should respond as we face huge job losses and severe austerity impacting millions of working people across the country. At the same time our health and safety is severely challenged. This will be first of the several meetings BTUC will be organising over the next few weeks and months to help prepare the labour and trade union movement for the coming storm.

This meeting is titled Coming out of the pandemic – the task for the labour movement. The discussion will be introduced by Michael Roberts Marxist economist. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to thousands of extra deaths in the UK and elsewhere. Because health systems were run down resourced, most governments were forced into lockdowns of the economy in varying degrees to contain the virus. This has led to the collapse of production, investment and employment across most major economies. In the case of Britain, it is the largest drop in economic activity for 300 years!

Workers have been sent home, sacked or furloughed. The damage is most felt by those in key necessary jobs and among the lower paid. While professionals and others can work at home, millions of others must go to workplaces and travel to do their jobs, putting themselves at risk of infection.

The government has announced a series of spending programmes to provide incomes for those out of work or furloughed. The Bank of England has

printed money for banks to lend to small and large businesses to tide them over. But these measures will run out by the end of the summer. Most

worrying, millions of workers may find that there are no jobs for them to come back to as their employers make them redundant or go bust. Many other companies are preparing to reduce the hours of work and demand pay cuts. The TUC has called for jobs to be protected and is promoting a jobs guarantee for at least six months, particularly for young workers who will be the first to lose their jobs. Colleges remain closed for those who need to study for qualifications and apprenticeships.

Despite the emergency measures, millions can be expected to take significant hit to their income and employment for years to come. At the same time, the British government is running up a huge bill with the annual budget deficit set to triple this year and next. The public debt will rocket to levels not seen since the end of WW2, as large and small companies demand bailout funds. Once the pandemic is contained and the lockdowns are ended, we shall not return to normal. Moreover, the Conservative government is very likely to want to re-introduce the policies of austerity that workers experienced after the end of the Great Recession ten years ago. There are plans for tax rises, cuts in spending on public services and a new public sector pay freeze -despite the courageous efforts of health and other essential workers during the pandemic. Companies too will be demanding that workers accept poorer work conditions to ‘make ends meet’.

How should the labour movement react to this likely new attack on incomes, jobs and public services? Michael Roberts, former City economist and long supporter of the labour movement, will discuss how the labour movement must prepare to defend working class livelihoods when the pandemic is over.