Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/800/18208
Stop cuts carnage
Organise coordinated strike action
Challenge the austerity parties in May's elections
Wolverhampton workers 'devastated by the cuts'... In Birmingham 'running statutory services will be difficult'... Highland council cuts may 'damage communities'... These are just some of the headlines that indicate the horror contained in the latest round of council cuts.
Here Dave Nellist, national chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and previously a socialist councillor in Coventry, shows that these cuts are far from necessary and can be stopped.
As we go to press a Coventry council meeting votes on another £19 million of government cuts resulting in further devastating deterioration in jobs and services.
Last year Labour and the Tories voted unanimously for the cuts budget. This year, even if amendments on the margins of the debate are proposed, the outcome will be the same - we will be forced to pay for the bankers' crisis. Cuts with enthusiasm or with Labour's claimed 'aching heart' hurt just the same.
There is no voice on the council representing the real interests of Coventry people. No voice defending council workers' jobs, pay, pensions and conditions. No voice arguing against cuts in essential services.
Forty years ago Coventry had plenty of well-paid factory jobs where strong trade unions policed employers and not the other way around.
Now thousands of people in our city are victims of low-paid insecure work, or of arbitrary benefits sanctions, denied even the basics and forced to turn to charity to survive.
We are apparently still the seventh richest country on the planet, yet nationally over the last 12 months, homelessness and the use of food banks has doubled! That's because the riches of this country are not in the hands of the majority, or spent on their needs.
Two basic things need to be done.
Firstly, the trade unions in Coventry, particularly the council unions, need to plan serious industrial action that will force council management to withdraw the attacks on jobs and services.
That means they should campaign with bodies like the National Shop Stewards Network - now supported by eight national trade unions - for coordinated national strike action against austerity.
Secondly, there looms a simple, but crucial, question - what do we do this May when councillors or candidates from the main, austerity parties want another four years, receiving a minimum of £50,000 in pay and expenses?
How can working class people vote Labour when Labour offers no resistance to austerity - indeed Labour leaders have loyally promised not only will they carry out the same public spending cuts in 2015/16, but they intend to be tougher than the Tories on the welfare budget!
The Socialist Party believes every councillor or candidate who supports austerity should be opposed. We're working with the RMT transport union and leading trade unionists to stand over 600 candidates on 22 May, including here in Coventry, in the biggest left of Labour challenge since World War Two.
Across England we already have over 400 activists, including from Unite, Unison, RMT and other unions, as well as those from anti-bedroom tax campaigns, and students, prepared to stand and pledged to oppose cuts.
Could you be a candidate, or help us in our campaign?
We have our warning. Like other councils, Coventry's budget document predicts "national spending plans mean that local government will not be able to sustain the current range and level of services in the future". That will happen - unless we do something about it!
Join us in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition challenge in the May elections.
Join us in the Socialist Party to build the socialist alternative.
In The Socialist 26 February 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
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