Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/353/5833
Stop Cuts In Jobs And Services
NEW LABOUR took a hammering in the 10 June elections. But Blair wasn't listening. "Now is not the time for a change of direction, but it is the time for a change of gear," he said the week after the election.
New Labour's policies of cuts and privatisation could devastate public services. The government are considering acting on the Gershon report which threatens tens of thousands of public-sector jobs, particularly in the civil service.
MICK PHILIPSZ works in the head office of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), which could have a third of its workforce cut (1,460 jobs from 4,500) by 2008.
Mick explains: "Year in, year out since I joined the civil service over 15 years ago I've been increasing my productivity while working longer hours and seeing my pay fall further and further behind the rest of the public sector.
"At the moment my work involves helping organisations who work with vulnerable children. Before that I helped ensure that those thousands who work with pupils when out of school did so as safely as possible. And before that I helped create childcare in areas of deprivation.
"The people I have worked with have only ever complained because I'm not on call or able to provide guidance often enough. No parent, teacher or local authority worker has ever suggested that I am a bureaucrat or 'unnecessary'.
"My reward is that I have still not been able to get into the property ladder in London and my job is on the line. I would enter a labour market in which employers have been fed the line that I'm wasteful and a pen-pusher.
"Yet private consultants are often employed with taxpayers' money on over £20,000 a month where I work doing what I and my colleagues used to do. Where is the sense or justice in that?
"A worker at Queen Mary College was quoted in an article on DfES cuts in The Guardian, saying: 'This is about cutting the lower ranks, not the people who make the policy that makes everyone's life impossible. When was the day when a clerical officer made the life of a head-teacher more impossible?'"
People should not be taken in by the government's propaganda. This is an attack on our services and our jobs.
Fight for a properly funded and democratically accountable public sector. Don't trust our education, our health, our future to an unrestrained capitalist market that only cares for profit. The unions should force Blair and Brown to 'change direction' through mass trade-union action, demonstrations, protests and industrial action if necessary.
In The Socialist 26 June 2004:
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