Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/661/11329
Demonstrations against council cuts
Over 1,000 marched through Manchester on Saturday 5 March as banners from local campaigns mingled with trade union and campaign banners from nearby towns including Salford and Bury.
Manchester faces massive council cuts to libraries, swimming pools, Sure Start, advice centres, and 2,000 job losses.
Already, campaigners for Manchester Coalition Against the Cuts have been heartened by the reprieve for Levenshulme Baths, a victory even before the council's 9 March cuts budget meeting.
Unite union members working for the council are balloting for strike action. Several speakers, including those from Manchester Metropolitan University UCU, Bolton NUT and Salford Against Cuts, argued for the council to set a deficit budget and fight for the needed money.
On Wednesday 2 March, Liverpool city council was challenged by 250 angry protesters as it met to vote on their disgraceful cuts agenda.
Protesters included mothers whose local Sure Start centres are marked for closure and workers from the Whitechapel Centre, a valuable support organisation for the homeless, where one in four jobs face the axe.
Town hall doors were closed as protesters attempted to enter the building to demand the council sets a 'needs budget'. The trades council was refused the opportunity to address the councillors.
The cuts will reduce the standard of living for everyone on Merseyside, including the elderly who are having their support services cut.
People stood on the pavements outside the building chanting "save our centres" and "when they say cut back, we say fight back!" The protest then moved into the road where we certainly made ourselves heard.
Steve Heyward Liverpool Socialist Party
120 people attended a lively lunchtime protest as Salford councillors pushed through a package of £40 million cuts.
Steve North, secretary of Salford Against Cuts, warned councillors that there's a difference between voting for cuts and being able to implement them.
Sarah Scanlon, a Connexions adviser, denounced the nearly 50% cuts in their service.
As George Tapp, Unite member, former Labour councillor and TUSC candidate for Salford's Ordsall ward, pointed out, the council's Latin motto 'Salus Populi Suprema Lex' means 'the welfare of the people is the highest law'. However, it will be TUSC candidates that fight for people's welfare in Salford.
Salford Socialist Party
On 3 March, Gateshead's Labour council passed £30 million of cuts over the coming year. A protest rally at the civic centre, organised by the Gateshead Public Sector Alliance, attracted around 200 predominately local government workers. Those out in the cold were 'joined' by even more workers who opened office windows of the surrounding buildings.
Martin Gannon, the deputy leader of the Labour council, was one of the speakers at the rally. He proudly boasted that he would be marching on 26 March against cuts. Yet he and his fellow Labour councillors voted through a package of cuts which will axe 1,000 jobs.
One education welfare officer said that the budget for their service was being cut by a third. They were told frontline services would be protected but as she said: "In my job, I work directly with children and parents, sitting in their living rooms with them. If that's not frontline, what is?"
On 2 March 50 students and workers from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Anti-Cuts Network demonstrated outside the full council meeting that voted through £44 million cuts over the next year. 660 full-time equivalent posts will go. When counting part-time workers, this amounts to nearly 1,000 jobs.
At the request of the council's Liberal Democrat leader David Faulkner, demonstrators were stopped by the police from exercising their democratic right to observe the council meeting.
A Unison member
In The Socialist 9 March 2011:
Socialist Party youth and students
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature