Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/702/13577
Stop the Salford day centre closures
Salford Socialist Party
Over 100 people - service users, carers, staff, pensioners - filled the room at a Salford Unison protest meeting to stop the closure of two day centres for the elderly and disabled. If the council has its way, 40 jobs will go and 200 service users will no longer have access to a day centre.
Pensioners' representative George Tapp pointed to the 27,000 pensioners who died of hypothermia last year. Closing day centres will mean pensioners in fuel poverty have to heat their homes more. He made it clear that we are fighting to retain all centres and we will have no truck with trade-offs.
George is standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in this year's council elections in the ward containing one of the threatened centres.
Staff member Clare cut the ground from under the feet of Salford's Labour council who repeat the Tory line about 'needing to get away from a dependency culture': "Salford council say 'Get a life, not a service' - but what if the service is your life?"
Steve, a colleague of Clare's, pointed out that many disabled people in their 50s have been attending day centres for 30 and 40 years and it is the high point of their week; their parents are often now in their 80s, struggling with infirmity, and need a break.
Social worker Ade explained how day centres combat loneliness and isolation for elderly people.
A young mother, who has three children and also cares for her severely disabled brother, spoke: "It's hard but my brother loves the centre and it's all he knows. We have to fight."
Salford Unison secretary Steve North read out a solidarity message from Bolton Unison who fought off a similar attack 18 months ago, and outlined a programme of action with demonstrations and lobbies.
People queued at the end of the meeting to take model letters to councillors and window posters.
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news