Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/651/10799
Swansea: Council cuts must be fought
Lib Dem councillors in Swansea, only days after voting to shut Daniel James community school, had the nerve to join students in protesting about the vote on tuition fees. Then, having shown no shame for the betrayal by their party of all their pre-election promises to students, they went back to put the finishing touches to an all-out assault on the terms and conditions of their workforce.
A Unison member
A letter has been sent to all council staff detailing the list of proposals. The cuts are dressed up in terms of ensuring 'equality' and 'fairness' across the workforce, rather than saving money through attacking members' terms and conditions.
There are plans to:
- Penalise people who get injured or become ill. No sick pay to be paid for the first three days of any sickness and the maximum entitlement to be halved to three months on full pay, then three months on half pay.
- Cut maximum annual leave to 28 days, including public holidays. Workers with long service face the prospect of losing 13 days holiday per year.
- Remove all unsocial hours, bank holiday, shift allowances etc. They propose to make the working week Sunday to Saturday, 52 weeks a year. All staff will be expected to work any five of the seven days at a single time.
Even if they were able to force these cuts through, the council will still be looking for large-scale redundancies. This is such a massive attack on terms and conditions that it must be met with an immediate, determined response to fight all cuts from the leadership of all union branches representing the council workforce.
We do not stand alone. Council workers in Labour-controlled, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Neath and Port Talbot councils are facing very similar attacks. A strategy from our unions for coordinated ballots and industrial action would capture the imagination of union members, building a huge movement to defeat these cuts and prevent other councils, and other employers watching with interest, from taking the same road.
In The Socialist 15 December 2010:
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students