Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/264/24597
'We're Striking Against Low Pay'
Council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have shown they're prepared to fight, not only against low pay but also against New Labour's cuts and privatisation of the public sector. Many are demanding that the action be stepped up and co-ordinated between all the public sector unions.
"THEY KNOW we don't do it for the money. For years we have been thinking: 'We can't let people down.' Now it's beyond a joke. This strike has been coming for years.
"Tony Blair should come out and see what we do. It's all very nice for him sat in number ten having decorators round. He was voted in by us. He has forgotten who we are. He has forgotten who put him there."
Tracy, from Swindon, who works with people with challenging behaviour
"To be honest I can't afford to go on strike - but there again I can't afford not to go on strike"
A school cleaner, interviewed at the Durham Miners' Gala
"We're expected to provide a quality service but they keep cutting funding and we've had privatisation hanging over our heads for seven years. We can't keep doing the job. There's six off sick with stress at our home."
Clive, a care home steward, Sheffield
"WHAT THEY'RE doing is giving most of our work to the private sector and we're doing all the out of hours work while they get the day jobs.
"I can't remember the last time we got a rise. They took away our uniforms and shoes. We worked two hours every week for no money at all for five years. We won the in-house bid and then the council said 60% of our work was going to the private sector. The clients are always complaining that the private sector workers don't do the job properly."
Grace, Irene, Eileen, home carers, Wandsworth
The Socialist Party says:
- Support the next council workers' strike on 14 August.
- Keep the pressure on, through national strike action, for the council workers' full pay demands.
- Turn the proposed September strike into a one-day strike across the public sector, against low pay, cuts and privatisation.
- Build a new, mass workers' party which will truly represent the interests of working-class people and provide a real alternative to New Labour's big business agenda.
In The Socialist 26 July 2002: