Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/186/8024
Shut Down Hackney on 20 December
IN A magnificent show of solidarity, Hackney council workers have voted, overwhelmingly, to take strike action.
94% of T&G members who voted, together with 80% of UNISON members and 70% of GMB members backed the call for strike action. That strike will now take place on Wednesday 20 December.
This clearly shows Hackney's managing director Max Caller, Hackney councillors and the New Labour government that council workers are determined to fight cuts in jobs and services.
Hackney UNISON, recognising the local community's deep anger at the council, is calling on every workplace to come out in support of the council workers in a mass show of defiance to demand extra resources for Hackney.
"Mad Max" Caller, together with the councillors, is trying to push through a cuts package to deal with an estimated £76 million deficit for this year. If they succeed they will slash council jobs, including over 200 housing workers, and decimate already overstretched services.
Over £600,000 could be cut from the education budget alone. Some council workers could have £80 per week taken from their wages - in the fourth poorest borough in Britain, where one-third of households survive on £5,000 or less a year.
Hackney Teachers Association says that its members won't cross picket lines. Workers in the recently privatised refuse collection and street cleansing service have said the same.
Serviceteam, the company who received an £8 million sweetener from New Labour to take this contract have an appalling record with other councils. They lost the contract in Waltham Forest because complaints increased massively whilst they were in charge. In school meals in Camden they underpaid many workers.
Socialist Party members are campaigning to ensure the biggest possible turnout on 20 December.
Young Socialist Action members are visiting Hackney secondary schools to explain to school students what's happening with the cuts and to try to get as many school students as possible on the protests on 20 December. All the borough's main workplaces are also being visited to win their support for the shutdown.
A successful strike day can be used to build for further action after the Christmas break. It will give a huge boost to Hackney people's confidence that these attacks can be beaten.
A victory in Hackney will also show council workers around Britain that attacks on local services can be beaten.
In The Socialist 15 December 2000: