Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11276
'One-party state' Labour regime in Newham imposes cuts
Around 150 trade unionists and local residents demonstrated outside Newham town hall in east London on 28 February. The protest was in opposition to Labour councillors in the borough proposing £50 million of spending cuts over the next year, half of the cuts planned over three years.
These cuts are on top of £70 million cuts over the last three years.
At least 200 jobs are to be axed and council rents increased by 7%. Council workers have been told to accept reductions in sick pay and holidays or face being sacked and then rehired on inferior terms and conditions with more job losses.
Newham is a New Labour 'one-party state' presided over by the 'dear leader' Sir Robin Wales. In what one protester described as his 'Gaddafi moment', a smirking Sir Robin appeared on the town hall steps provocatively gesturing to the jeering protesters before retreating behind police lines.
Zita Holbourne, PCS union executive member and Newham resident, told the crowd that it would be women, ethnic minorities and the poorest who would be affected the most by cuts.
Socialist Party member and Newham resident Lois Austin addressed the lobby and told the Labour councillors to either fight the Con-Dem cuts or stand aside and let trade union backed candidates fight in their place.
When protesters were finally allowed into the town hall, hired private security guards herded them into a small room to watch the council meeting on a large TV screen.
Not one Labour councillor voted against or even abstained on the cuts budget.
In a delusional speech Sir Robin said the budget would be supported by the people of Newham who understood that things had to be done differently.
Bizarrely, he also claimed that the protesters were 'rent a mob' and there was not one Newham trade unionist among them!
Watch out Sir Robin, your dictatorship will soon be coming to an end!