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Posted on 8 February 2016 at 16:42 GMT

Trade union news

Oxford Unite's strike to defend children's centres

From a Facebook event posting by Tom Sutherland

Unite members are taking strike action with a 83% mandate from the membership of the South East 6272 Community Youth Workers and Not for Profit branch. Action will take place for 24 hours from midnight 15th February to midnight 16th February against Oxfordshire County Council.

The strike action is in response to the council's plans to shut all of its 44 children's centres and seven early intervention (EIS) hubs, including in the prime minister's Witney constituency. The plan will put 420 highly skilled jobs at risk.

Vital support services for children, young people and their parents, from 'stay and play' sessions to open access youth sessions, are at risk of vanishing altogether after the council announced plans to slash £8 million from children's services, as part of a further £50 million cut to frontline services. The council had already announced cuts of £292 million from 2010 to 2018.

Unite has accused David Cameron of gross hypocrisy as the full horror of his government's policies leave local authorities, including his own, struggling to maintain even basic services in the face of a 40% budget cut since 2010.

David Cameron's hypocrisy is mindboggling. He gets himself embroiled in a row with the Conservative leader of the council after writing to complain about the impact of the 'counter-productive' cuts to frontline services in his own constituency.

He then announces plans for state-backed parenting classes to teach parents how to raise their children properly, when the children's centres that provide support to parents are facing the axe in his own constituency.

Oxfordshire County Council will meet on 16 February 2016 to vote on the budget proposals and Unite is urging councillors to find an alternative solution to these damaging cuts and to vote against the proposals.

All members and supporters are welcome to come to the picket line and lobby outside Oxfordshire County Council at County Hall Oxford from 8am on Tuesday 16th February.

For more info contact Tom at Tom.Sutherland@unitetheunion.org

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