Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/641/10381
Meetings and protests against the cuts
Around 120 people packed into the first public rally of the Coventry Against the Cuts campaign.
Caroline Johnson, secretary of Birmingham Unison, spoke about the 26,000 workers who have been given notice informing them that their contracts are being changed.
Alan Lewis and Tony Conway, from Unite and PCS respectively, emphasised the need for joint, united action.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, gave a storming speech, recalling the lessons of the successful campaign that beat the poll tax and the importance of organising in the communities.
Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor, described the cuts being planned by the council and outlined a fighting strategy. The ruling Labour group say they oppose the Tory cuts, but they have 'no choice' but to implement them.
Dave said that if Labour opposes the cuts, they should use the council reserves to 'hold the line', which would give some breathing space to allow an anti-cuts army to be built by the trade unions in the city and in every community to fight for extra funding from the Tory government.
A protest has been called on 20 October, the day of the government's comprehensive spending review.
Coventry Socialist Party members
Almost 100 people turned up to the launch meeting of Leicestershire Against the Cuts at the end of September. The feeling at the meeting was that the Con-Dem government's cuts could be defeated, but there is a need to "agitate, educate and organise" to see this happen
National Union of Teachers vice-president Nina Franklin, Unison national executive member Jean Thorpe and PCS civil service union president Janice Godrich spoke of how the cuts will affect working class people while bankers are picking up obscene bonuses after being bailed out with public money.
A local community activist told the meeting about a campaign against the building of a private finance initiative health centre on a greenfield site next to the University of Leicester.
The campaign will now organise a demonstration against the cuts in Leicester on 30 October. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Tony Church, Leicestershire Against the Cuts convenor
The first meeting of the Liverpool anti-cuts committee took place at the end of September. 60 people, including trade union delegates and Socialist Party members, heard proposals about building a campaign to oppose the Con-Dem coalition's attacks on ordinary working people and the worst-off in society.
Speakers included Tony Mulhearn, Socialist Party member and former Liverpool 47 councillor. Tony drew comparisons with the Liverpool council campaign in the city in the 1980s which brought all sections of the workers' movement together. With huge demonstrations of 50,000 in the city, the council won extra funding from Thatcher's Tory government to deliver improvements including new homes, jobs and sports centres.
Tony said similar victories against the current government could be achieved. The meeting drew to a close with a determination to build the Liverpool anti-cuts committee and take the campaign into the trade unions and communities.
John Marston Merseyside Socialist Party
On 29 September North Staffordshire Anti-Cuts Alliance campaigners were on the streets of Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, demonstrating anger, opposition and importantly an alternative to the Con-Dem government's savage cuts in public services, as part of the Europe-wide day of action.
A large contingent from the Unison combined health branch turned out with their banner and flags, along with other union members from the city council Unison, GMB, and UCU, to hand out leaflets to shoppers and workers passing by. North Staffs TUC had a stall and also handed out leaflets. The Stoke Socialist Party stall campaigned against government attacks on the NHS.
Just down the road at Staffs University, Socialist Students marched with the Stoke Socialist Party banner to a new sixth form college to explain to students that they need to fight for a decent future.
Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party
One hundred and twenty Unison, Unite and GMB trade union members joined a lunchtime protest outside Salford civic centre to hear speeches from union campaigners.
Steve North, a Socialist Party member in Unison and assistant secretary of Salford trades council, drew loud applause when he pledged the support of the trades council in setting up a broad anti-cuts alliance. Steve pointed out that half of the children in Salford are already growing up in poverty. An interview he gave was later featured prominently on the radio station Key 103.
Paul Gerrard Salford Socialist Party
In The Socialist 6 October 2010:
Defend Child Benefits
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party workplace news
Health and Safety
Europe: fighting the cuts
International socialist analysis
Socialist Party review