Birmingham schools set for strikes as workers back walkout

Staff at Birmingham City Council have backed strike action after its delay in settling equal pay claims.

GMB Union says 35 city schools’ employees have voted in favour of the strike and over 96% have backed industrial action.

The GMB Union, which represents the largest staff body within the council, is pressing for a clear timetable to address the equal pay liability, currently estimated to exceed £867m.

Budget cuts of almost £300m were passed by the council at the start of March which are thought to be the largest budget cuts in local authority history.

Residents have been hit with a council tax increase over the current referendum limit from 4.99% to 9.99% for the next two years.

The council has received £1.255bn in Exceptional Financial Support (EFS) from the Government, which must be paid back through £750m of asset sales. It will help to tackle the equal pay liability, an overspend on IT system Oracle of £136m and support a £100m redundancy scheme when it cuts 600 jobs.

Alice Reynolds, GMB organiser, said: “Almost a year since Council bosses admitted an equal pay bill as high as £760 million, not one single women worker has received the money they’re owed. Birmingham City Council owe GMB members money after years of stolen wages, the equal pay crisis only ends when our member’s claims are settled.

“This is no longer about sending messages; workers are now taking matters into their own hands. Birmingham’s schools cannot run without our members and this strike action will have a huge impact. Council bosses are fast running out of time to fix this.”

Strike dates will be announced soon.

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