Hundreds of Birmingham workers including binmen, school janitors, dinner ladies and care home workers are set to strike after members of trade union Unite voted to take part in a massive day of action.
Schools across the city are set to close as the union voted to join the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers in action on November 30. Even if teachers turn up, many schools cannot open without a caretaker on site.
But Unite, which represents 1,000 public sector workers in Birmingham, said it still hoped the action could be avoided, and urged the Government to negotiate.
In a national ballot, 75 per cent of union members who voted said “yes” to taking part in a day of action to protest against the Government’s controversial pension reforms.
Ministers want public sector workers to contribute more to their pensions; to work for longer before receiving the pensions, and to accept a pension based on their career average salary rather than their final salary. In practice, this means almost all workers will receive less.
Peter Clews, Midlands regional industrial organiser, said: “Our members feel they have been pushed into a corner.
“The average local government pension is £60 a week. It makes people very angry to be told they will have their savings raided to pay for the debt when the banks which created the situation are making billions of pounds in profit and bankers are getting massive bonuses.”
“Hopefully there is still time to avoid this and the Government will see the level of anger out there and negotiate properly, but they’ve shown no sign of doing that so far.”
Unions the GMB and UCATT are also joining the day of action, which is co-ordinated by the TUC will see union members gather for a rally at the National Indoor Arena.
Labour leader Ed Miliband urged both sides in the dispute to negotiate.
He said: “There is a huge responsibility on both sides, even at this late stage, to stop the strike happening.”