Stop the bedroom tax rally in Leeds

What better way to spend a glorious spring day than to join Labour Party and trade union colleagues at a rally in Leeds city centre against the bedroom tax? This is an ill-thought out policy that victimises some of the most vulnerable people in the community and will have a devastating effect on many people throughout Elmet and Rothwell.

Karen Bruce walking behind the Unite banner at the Leeds against the bedroom tax rally

Karen Bruce walking behind the Unite banner.

Karen Bruce with the GMB bed at the Leeds against the bedroom tax rally

Karen Bruce with the GMB bed.

Councillor Alex Sobel and Councillor Karen Bruce at the Leeds against the bedroom tax rally

Councillor Alex Sobel and Councillor Karen Bruce.

Karen Bruce and Elmet and Rothwell GMB member Bob Dyson at the Leeds aganist the bedroom tax rally

Karen Bruce and Elmet and Rothwell GMB member Bob Dyson.

Former Leeds councillor and Pudsey Labour Party member John Garvarni unveils the Unite the Union banner.

Former Leeds councillor and Pudsey Labour Party member John Garvarni unveils the Unite the Union banner.

Musical light relief at the Leeds against the bedroom tax rally

Musical light relief at the Leeds against the bedroom tax rally.

Elmet and Rothwell endorsement from former GMB trade union convenor

Local Labour Party and trade union members are coming forward to endorse Karen as the best candidate in Elmet and Rothwell to beat Alec Shelbrooke at the next general election.

Bob DysonRecently retired GMB Trade Union Convenor at Leeds City Council, and local Rothwell Labour Party member, Bob Dyson said:

“A good local councillor who knows the constituency like Karen is just what we need to beat the Tories and win Elmet and Rothwell back for Labour.”

When people know the truth they back the bin workers and street cleaners

Karen Bruce with Councillor Ted Hanley and Unison banner

I’m a bit late posting this photo, because I’ve been busy out talking to Labour Party members in Elmet and Rothwell for the Parliamentary selection. On Thursday I went with my daughter Esme to join the demonstration outside Leeds Civic Hall in support of the bin workers and street cleaners who are having their pay slashed by the Tory/Lib Dem council. It was a great event and everyone was rooting for the Unite, Unison and GMB members.

On Friday I had dinner with friends who aren’t particularly political, but were disgusted and horrified when they discovered what the bin strike was actually about. They had no idea that these hard workers, who are out every day in all weathers, were facing such massive pay cuts – £5-£6K when they only earn about £18K to begin with. It totally changed their perspective on the strike from being annoyed that their bins hadn’t been entered to being furious at Tory and Lib Dem councillors who are treating the refuse workers to shamefully.

Tory and Lib Dem councillors attack on unions bring bin strike closer

The talks between Leeds City Council and the trade unions (Unite, GMB, Unison) have failed. About what you’d expect when they are the responsibility of a Liberal Democrat leader of a Tory/Lib Dem council.

The trade unions have been trying to have a sensible discussion with Leeds City Council as to how to resolve the proposed pay cuts which the council is trying to impose on bin workers as a result of the court rulings to do with the different pay levels between men and women doing similar jobs. Led by Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Richard Brett, the Tory/Lib Dem council has been obstructive every step of the way.The council is proposing massive£6,000 per year pay cuts for the hard working staff in the refuse and street cleaning departments.

Bill Chard, organiser for the GMB explained: “There seems to be a complete lack of understanding and basic decency on behalf of the leadership of the council and their highly paid managers. I cannot comprehend why they believe such huge cuts of this magnitude would be acceptable to our members. This strike will cause mayhem in Leeds and they must take the blame.

“Our members take this action out of desperation; they know however they juggle their home finances they will not be able to pay their household bills. This situation has been hanging over their families for over 12 months, it is intolerable. I hope that council leader Richard Brett can live with his conscience.”

A bin strike won’t be good for the people of Leeds and is likely to cause us all considerable inconvenience. But the Tories and Lib Dems should remember that Leeds folk are made of strong stuff and they won’t take kindly to a handful of well-paid councillors trying to cut the pay of workers who provide us with essential services.