Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/642/10413
Greenwich council threatens mass sackings
Labour controlled Greenwich council in south London has sent letters to 8,000 staff threatening mass sackings unless unions agree to pay cuts. The council is threatening to freeze pay increments for four years. Employees start at the bottom of the grade and work their way up the scale over four years.
This attack on pay will hit young workers in particular. This is a pay cut, and is an indication of the ruthless bully-boy methods the council is prepared to use to force through its £70 million cuts.
But while Rome burns, the national leadership of Unison is fiddling. Dave Prentis talks about "pacing himself" and not beginning a campaign prematurely. But in this case, the horse has not just bolted before the stable door was closed, it has run the Grand National. Cuts have already been made to car allowances. Pay for low graded administrative staff has been cut.
A unified campaign of the workforce, linking up with service users and the community, is necessary. Unfortunately, as a result of the witch-hunt against Unison branch secretary and Socialist Party member Onay Kasab, the highly successful, combative Unison branch has been suspended.
This is precisely why Greenwich Unison members fought the witch-hunt so hard, so that they would be ready and able to defend their jobs, pay and services. But this does not mean there cannot be a fight. Members of Unite branch 1563, which many Unison members have now joined, have made an appeal to all council workers across the trade unions for a united campaign against the cuts.
The Socialist Party calls for a borough-wide demonstration against the ripping up of contracts, and for coordinated action by all Greenwich council unions to defend jobs, terms and conditions and services.
Greenwich Save Our Services is leading the fight against the cuts in the borough, linking together trade unionists and community campaigners.
A mass lobby of the council has been organised for 27 October.
In The Socialist 14 October 2010:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news