UNISON strike in Birmingham over “worst ever” contracts

New "work anywhere" contracts for city staff will slash the wages of the lowest-paid employees - some earning only £14,000
by - 21st September 2011, 9.07 BST

Public servants in Birmingham are today on strike over the imposition of new contracts that will cut their income by as much as 30%

The city council has also introduced controversial ‘Martini’ contracts which means employees are expected to work anytime, any place, anywhere.

Speaking to UnionNews from a picket line in the city, UNISON Birmingham Branch secretary Mark Rose said: “These contracts have been described by an employment expert as one of the worst he has ever seen.

“Basically, the council is grouping large amounts of staff together under generic job descriptions to cover for a shortfall in services. There is real anger about that here because it impinges on our ability to do our jobs properly.”

The new contracts also slash the wages of some of the lowest-paid employees who carry out essential out-of-hours work caring for the most vulnerable in society.

Mark Rose said: “Some of these people, who are only earning between £14,000 and £17,000, will have their take-home pay cut by as much as 25 or 30%.”

And in the leisure sector, UNISON estimates pool managers will lose £270 a month, senior leisure assistants £250 a month, receptionists £140 a month and leisure assistants £140 a month.

There will be a lobby outside the Lib Dem conference between 10.30 and 11.30am, and a joint unions members meeting in New Bingley Hall, Hockley Circus B18 5BE between 12noon and 2pm.