Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/676/12268
200 workers challenge Labour council cuts
Ken Douglas, Walthamstow Socialist Party
Over 200 council workers staged a noisy and colourful protest outside Waltham Forest town hall in north east London, calling on the Labour council cabinet to step back from forcing new contracts on the workforce, part of the council's £65 million cuts.
This was a joint lobby called by Unison, Unite and GMB, conducted by the three branch secretaries, and followed meetings of all three unions calling for a ballot for strike action. Two Unison meetings had to be moved outside as over 300 members endorsed the call at both.
On top of the hundreds of job cuts that the council has already put through, they are proposing cuts in pay, sick pay, travel allowances and holidays.
For example, a worker from the Meals on Wheels service, who has to use his own vehicle to deliver meals, told the protest that the council were going to stop his car allowance of £70 a month.
Following the announcement to the lobby that the NUT teachers' union had voted by 92% to strike on 30 June against the attacks on public sector pensions, Susan Wills, Waltham Forest college UCU branch secretary and a member of the Socialist Party, emphasised the need for joint strike action to stop the attacks on the public sector.
Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest NUT and Socialist Party, received massive cheers when she called on the national leadership of Unison, Unite and the GMB to learn the lessons of the proposed joint action in the borough and "get off their backsides" to join the other public sector unions in national coordinated action against the attacks of the Con-Dem government.
The workers on the lobby enthusiastically waved Socialist Party and NSSN placards, calling for opposition to all the cuts and for a one-day public sector general strike. They queued to sign up to the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union.
In The Socialist 22 June 2011:
Socialist Party feature
Building for 30th June
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Reviews and comments
Fighting the cuts