Union says Birmingham City Council 'crisis' is of the council's 'own making' as strikes planned

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Birmingham City Council has announced plans to cut 600 jobs

A union threatening to 'bring the Birmingham to a halt' with strike action has said that the city council's financial crisis is of its own making.

Up to 600 posts are set to be axed at Birmingham City Council in a wave of redundancies, the authority has admitted. No decision has yet been made on how many posts “may be declared redundant across the council” or when the cuts will begin, according to a spokesman for the authority which last year effectively declared bankruptcy.

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A formal consultation with trade unions is to be held over the proposals. An email was sent to workers at the authority on Tuesday (January 16), telling them of the plans. Delcan Downes, GMB Regional Organiser recently told the BBC that strike action which would "bring the city to a halt" is now more likely since the news of the jobs cuts broke.

Birmingham City Council issued two Section 114 notices, which are formal admissions it was effectively bankrupt, in September. The reasons included equal pay claims of up to £760m and an £80m overspend on a troubled IT system.

Birmingham's Labour councillors previously pointed to years of austerity and cuts to services for the section 114 notice. Speaking in September 2023, Birmingham City Council leader John Cotton said: "We’ve got rising demands on our services; we’re facing rampant inflation and a cost of living crisis. And we’ve had over a decade of Conservative cuts that have seen our budget slashed by £1 billion.

"Crucially, Birmingham is still open for business and there is a way forward. Of course, we understand that this is a worrying time for people across the city that’s been short-changed by Tory governments since 2010. Now, more than ever, we need a Labour government that will provide sustainable long-term funding for councils."

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Birmingham City Council HouseBirmingham City Council House
Birmingham City Council House

The GMB has claimed that the council has spent years 'ignoring rampant pay discrimination'. In a statement issued to BirminghamWorld, h Delcan Downes, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “Birmingham is already slashed to the bone after years of Government austerity. Job cuts on this scale will see vital local services suffer even more - particularly those staffed by the women workers the council has discriminated against for decades. “After years of ignoring rampant pay discrimination, this is a crisis of the council’s own making. GMB won’t stand by as working Brummies’ are expected to pay the price.”

City council statement

In response, a Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “Now that formal consultation with Trade Unions and staff has begun around these proposals, it would not be appropriate to comment further until these discussions and meetings have concluded. However no final decisions have been taken at this stage.”

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