Issue date
27 Sep 2018

TUC Midlands to demonstrate against austerity ahead of Conservative Party Conference

- TUC Midlands to hold demonstration in Birmingham City Centre

Thousands of trade unionists and campaigners will join a TUC Midlands march this Saturday (29 September) to campaign against austerity ahead of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

Austerity policies have hit Birmingham hard with Birmingham City Council’s budget slashed by 40%. By 2025 the Council budget will have lost three-quarters of a billion pounds.

The crisis at Birmingham Prison this summer, the collapse at Northamptonshire County Council, and recent figures showing that childcare costs have risen nine times faster than wages in the West Midlands since 2008, have shone light on the impact of privatisation and austerity in the midlands.

Birmingham home care workers, a largely female and low-paid group of workers at the sharp end of austerity, are now driving the fight back. They will lead the march through the city centre to defend the service they give to the most vulnerable.

TUC Midlands Regional Secretary, Lee Barron, said:

“This summer we’ve seen how austerity has hobbled the economy while doing significant damage to public services and those who rely on them.

“From the collapse of Northampton County Council to the scandal at Birmingham prison to the cruel cuts facing Birmingham’s care workers it is clear that austerity cannot deliver economic or social progress.

“The time has come for a different approach, before there is nothing left for future generations. That’s why I’ll be proud to march with Birmingham’s care workers at the front of the march.

“Rather than running services into the ground we should view our public services as key assets, not only helping people but strengthening the economy. Instead of yet more cuts, we should fund them at the level needed to deliver a decent service. This will provide a civilised quality of life for everyone in the UK, and will help generate the stronger growth our economy needs.

Mandy Buckley, a Birmingham home care worker, said:

“I will be joining friends at the front of the march on Saturday to say enough is enough. Austerity means the service that we are proud to deliver is being cut to the bone with many of my friends being forced into poverty as a result.

“It breaks my heart to see this race to the bottom in the care industry. This isn’t in the interests of service users and leaves care workers feeling like we’re not valued or appreciated. The way we treat social care is a scandal and must change. We must fund social care properly. We are the fifth richest economy in the world and we can afford world class services for the most vulnerable.”

Editors note

- The march and rally will take place between 12.00 and 15.00 in Victoria Square, Birmingham. The march is anticipated to set off at around 12.30pm.

Speakers at the rally will include:      

  • Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary
  • Kevin Courtney, NEU General Secretary
  • Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary
  • Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary
  • Janice Godrich, PCS President
  • Frank Keogh, UNITE West Midlands

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the Midlands exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 1 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.