Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/604/8439
Fighting council cuts in Greenwich
EVEN PRIME minister Gordon Brown has condemned Tory Nottinghamshire county council's savage plans to impose over £31 million of cuts, cutting 450 jobs this financial year alone and attacking staff terms and conditions and council services.
Onay Kasab, secretary, Greenwich Unison branch (personal capacity)
Nottinghamshire's Unison union branch has consulted members on a possible industrial action ballot with 87% saying they would be prepared to take industrial action. Gordon Brown said: "The council has made these cuts simply because it's their ideological position... To cut £30 million out of your budget at a time when we are wanting to get the economy moving forward is a mistake."
Yet Brown does not condemn Labour-controlled Greenwich coun-cil, where a cuts programme of over £30 million was recently agreed at a Labour group meeting. Services, pay and conditions are all under serious threat.
Greenwich Unison branch is currently fighting pay cuts, compulsory redundancies, privatisation and the transfer of Eltham Green school to a Trust. Reorganisations are deleting jobs. Anticipated proposals include cuts to the library service and youth and after school play clubs. Voluntary sector organisations will have their funding cut.
So-called "low priority" services will no longer be provided and many people will no longer be able to access council services. Council plumbers are to be balloted for strike action as their pay is being slashed. Social workers caring for the elderly and vulnerable face £5,000 per year pay cuts and want to be balloted for strike action.
Brown does not condemn the Greenwich cuts equally because Nottinghamshire council is led by the Tories.
But those working for service-cutting Labour councils are not convinced by arguments from union leaders about Labour being a 'lesser evil'. Both parties are committed to making cuts. Maybe the Tories will make more cuts than Labour but that is little comfort to those having pay cuts, losing jobs or having their services removed now.
Greenwich Unison is organising action to defend jobs, pay and services. Don't just tell council workers to vote Labour. What is needed is a party in the council chamber looking after the interests of the working class, including those who use and provide council services. We need no cuts and a party that stands for this principle.
Join Greenwich Unison lobby against council cuts, Tuesday 8 December, 6pm, Town Hall, Wellington St, Woolwich, SE18.
In The Socialist 2 December 2009:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
War and occupation
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
Marxist analysis: history