Because I am not at all bitter about being stuck in my house with an exam in the morning and no one to watch Super Tuesday coverage with, I am going to blog about something entirely un-Super Tuesday related.
So, yeah, three thousand people. That’s how many council staff flooded Birmingham’s Victoria Square today in protest over the new pay scheme being introduced by Birmingham city council. The issue seems to be a tricky one; while the pay shake-up is designed to bring balance to the gender pay gap by valuing male and female jobs equally (hurrah) allegations abound that it will not in fact achieve that. Also, and highly significantly, many staff are set to lose life-changing amounts (up to twelve grand in some cases).
The issue has been dogged with controversy, not least the binmen pay deal, which was accepted against union advice. It has also been alleged that the council has long since spent the money set aside to neutralise the pay cuts on other things.
What has really interested me here is the position of the unions. As the Birmingham Post points out, less than 1/4 of members voted in the strike ballot and the binmen rejected union advice… Still, three thousand people took to the streets today.
Which is the number needed for a quorate referendum in my own union this week, the Guild of Students. I wonder how this union will fare? Since there is no money at stake here I fear far less well… but I hope I’m wrong.