Being Skint

Duncan Morrison reviews “Skint”, BBC1, Mondays, 10.35pm

The documentary series Skint has reminded me how valuable good documentaries can be. Using a not quite fly on the wall style, the makers ask questions to their subjects as they go through their lives. They follow a number of people and families in the Birmingham area as they struggle to make ends meet. These are Britain’s poor.

Privatised pay deal

Privatised ex-NHS staff at Birmingham’s Heartlands hospital have accepted a deal which will see them reach parity with NHS pay and conditions by 2007. The deal was offered to them by Initial Hospital Services and Birmingham Heartlands management after the workers planned strikes in protest against the “two-tier workforce”.

Birmingham Bagmakers: Striking for some dignity

Workers at Euro Packaging in Birmingham, which makes paper bags, have been on strike against redundancies and for a 37.5 hour week. The workers are members of the Graphical, Paper and Media Union. The employers are notorious for bad pay and conditions (some workers, say the union, work up to 80 hours a week and most are on minimum wage or just above). The GPMU was recently organised and won recognition. The employers have responded by "selecting" key organisers for redundancy.

Fighting Back for Manufacturing

Rally and March
11am Saturday 22nd May 2004
Broad Street, Birmingham
Tony Woodley, T&G General Secretary
Derek Simpson, Amicus General Secretary
Debbie Coulter, GMB Deputy General Secretary
Richard Burden MP

Rally to be Chaired by Gerard Coyne, Regional Secretary TGWU

Called By: The TGWU, Amicus and the GMB