Warning that thousands of job losses are underway if plan of action is imitated by other town halls
As it launched a strike ballot of nearly 10,000 members at Birmingham city council over job cuts, workers pay, and conditions; one union cited jobs as being “shipped out”.
Plans known as the Birmingham contract, which weakens workers rights in complaints, abolishes payments for out of contracted hours working and weekend work, and abandons nationally agreed terms and conditions, is being balloted against by Unison.
Birminham city council is the first town hall in the country to have sent up to 100 IT jobs, paid by taxpayers, overseas to India, say union leaders of Unite. They have warned that the move could be the “tip of the iceberg” and could see hundreds more taxpayer-funded jobs going overseas. Unite claimed that they feared other councils following suit, as a means to cut back the costs for private companies providing public services.
Birmingham City Council, however, remained adamant that the transfer of jobs overseas was simply a means to provide for the budgetary savings the public sector had to make, saying it made the authority “fit for the challenges” being faced by the public sector. The cabinet member for equalities and Human Resources, Alan Rudge, stated that the Birmingham Contract would make Birmingham City Council more resistant to future stresses through a decrease in costs, and would “bring our organisation into line with other leading employers”.
According to a spokesperson, a further 45 jobs will be transferred to India later in the year if current transfers go according to plan.
Unison claims that the total job loses will increase to 10,000 once part-time job losses are brought into consideration. These will have a “devastating impact on council services”. Unite national officer, Peter Allenson, says that it “beggars belief that council workers will be forced to train workers from overseas to do their job”.