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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2017

Leicester Unison no-cuts budget call

Unison members lobbying a Labour council for a no-cuts budget in 2014, photo Scott Jones

Unison members lobbying a Labour council for a no-cuts budget in 2014, photo Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge)

Michael Barker, Unison shop steward (personal capacity)

Leicester is a city dominated by Labour, with a Lib-Dem/Tory opposition group composed of just two councillors. However, like all other Labour councils up and down the country, they have been busy passing on Tory cuts with gusto (and crocodile tears).

In the latest phase of cuts the axe is being swung down upon welfare, youth and mental health services. This is not to mention the closure of the last remaining council-run elderly care home, with has been accompanied by the sacking of 48 carers.

The council is also presently in the process of slashing 6 million from the wages of council workers. The recommended medicine for council employees is to accept three days unpaid leave over Christmas, say goodbye to hard-won sick pay and redundancy entitlements, and the loss of premium payments for unsocial working hours.

Unison members reject outright this latest attack on their pay and conditions, and now, for the first time ever, Unison's city branch has demanded that our Labour council do everything in its power to investigate setting a legal 'no-cuts' budget.

The union recognises that setting such a budget would safeguard the pay and conditions of Unison members, but also prevent the ongoing degradation of local services.

Support

The local trades council has already thrown its support behind Unison's fighting proposal, and all Leicester's Labour councillors have been emailed by both Unison and the GMB to see if they can help.

In the meantime, the trades council has resolved to contact local Labour councillors and union branches to request their official backing for the 'no-cuts' proposal and organise a public meeting to discuss the fightback.

Now let's see if our city's Labour councillors are prepared to work alongside Leicester's trade unions and community groups to resist Tory austerity!

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