Protesting for equal pay and against cuts in Birmingham on Monday (Picture: David Hughes)

The GMB, Unison and Unite unions demonstrated outside a key council ­meeting in Birmingham on Monday as the local authority and Tory-appointed commissioners prepared to savage jobs and services.

Birmingham Trades Council, which backed the rally, said, “We must fight for a council fit to support its workers and serve the people of this city.

“We have to stand firm against the political choice of austerity from this ­government that caused this crisis.”

The Labour council last week issued a second Section 114 notice—indicating a financial emergency—to ratchet up the pressure on workers.

The council had already declared itself effectively bankrupt, blaming a £760 million bill to settle equal pay claims. But that is money that has been stolen from workers.

The real problem is that the council has meekly implemented government cuts rather than fighting them.

This week Tory ministers sent in unelected commissioners to take over the council.

Now the council wants to gut the job evaluation scheme that shows the truth about how women lose out.

Rachel Fagan, GMB organiser, said, “The council’s proposals lock workers out of the job evaluation process, risking more discrimination and more debt which would threaten the future of the city’s services.

“Birmingham City Council already owes hundreds of millions of pounds to its low‑paid women workers, wages that have been stolen from them over years of discriminatory pay practices, and that bill is growing.”

More than 98 percent of GMB members voted to reject the council’s job evaluation proposals earlier this month, and 96 percent of those who voted said they were ­willing to strike over equal pay.

All the unions need to strike now.

Thousands of women in Sheffield this week launched an equal pay claim against the city council, where Labour is the largest party.

Some of the ­workers are thought to be missing out on up to £11,000 a year.

Through a “job family” scheme, Sheffield Council is underpaying those who work in female-majority roles, such as cleaning, caring or housing allocation.

Sue Wood, GMB senior organiser said, “The council is using a rotten job allocation scheme that actively ­discriminates against its female workforce.”

The GMB union says female care workers in Sunderland have been underpaid for years and has urged them to make claims against the Labour‑controlled city council.

The union believes women who work for Sunderland Care and Support Ltd could be owed hundreds of thousands of pounds.

While not directly employed by the local authority, the company is fully owned by the council.

Denso Marston workers in battle over pay 

Around 300 GMB union members at Denso Marston in Shipley, West Yorkshire, were out in force during two days of strikes. They are fighting for 12 percent pay rise.

This followed a rejection of a 6 percent pay offer, with an additional non‑consolidated award. 

The picket lines last Tuesday and Thursday, were loud and confident, covering all three shifts from 5.30am to 10.30pm.

The shift changes at 1.30pm were electric, with some 80 pickets and solidarity supporters from the local union movement, making a huge noise. Sirens and vuvuzelas, sent management a clear message that only a vastly improved pay offer, with no strings, would be acceptable.

Denso Marston is one of the most important plants in Europe for multinational parent company, Denso.

It produces automotive heating and ventilation systems. In 2022 in Britain alone it paid out £3.7 million in dividends.

Some of the workers on strike are on the minimum wage, despite years of experience. They have served notice for a further three strike days.

Messages of support and solidarity to

Caroline Conway

Strikes hold the front page at National World press

Over 330 journalists at publisher National World struck on Monday for the third time this month in a battle over pay.

Journalists working for titles including The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post, Sunderland Echo, Lancashire Post, Sheffield Star, Northampton Chronicle and The News in Portsmouth are taking action.

Previous strikes on 22 and 25 September saw strong support by NUJ union members.

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