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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2010

Stand united, fight the cuts!

As Cameron and Clegg's government moves to dismantle public services, they could unleash a whirlwind of opposition as local public services anti-cuts alliances are formed and move into action. We report on some developments.

Hackney, east London

TWO WEEKS - two meetings! The 'Hackney alliance to defend public services' has been formed. With 50 at each meeting from many unions and workplaces and community groups, a real buzz has developed to fight the cuts in Hackney.

Brian Debus joint chair, Hackney alliance

Over 3,000 leaflets in Turkish were distributed at the Day-Mer Festival (Turkish and Kurdish festival). By the second meeting, a draft bulletin had been produced. 3,000 will be printed and distributed in the next few weeks.

An arbitrary cut by the learning trust means subsidised nursery places have already been cut from 300 to 60. Teaching assistants have already lost their jobs at one school, with many more under threat. The community college faces yet more job cuts and course closures. Two dust trucks were removed from the waste round, putting more work on existing staff.

A refuse worker commented: "At Hackney waste depot around 30-40% of bin workers, sweepers and drivers are temps and most on minimum wage, most on day jobs. Temp workers are supposed to turn up at 5.30am and wait till 7.30am. If all regular workers turn up or too many temps arrive, people are sent back home without a job and unpaid - after having been employed at the depot for more than a year".

Unless we fight now these conditions could face many more of us. These alliances will be crucial in deciding whether this government founders as Thatcher's Tories did over the poll tax.

Lewisham, south London

ON 14 July, 100 people joined a lobby of Lewisham's mayor and cabinet meeting. Socialist Party member and Lewisham NUT branch secretary Martin Powell-Davies called the lobby in response to £60 million worth of cuts tabled for the next three years.

James Kerr

Cuts include closing six crèches, five libraries, a £1 million cut to adult social care and one in four council jobs to go. The lobby had trade union banners from UCU, Unite, GMB and the NUT and banners from campaigners fighting library closures.

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page spoke, pointing to when the mayor had been forced, under pressure from local campaigns, to overturn decisions. In the meeting, mayor 'Sir' Steve Bullock felt the pressure, telling campaigners to "get real" then branding us 'f**king idiots', as reported in the press. Obviously a man who lives in the anodyne world of New Labour finds reality too hard to handle.

It was an important beginning for Lewisham's united anti-cuts alliance with the detail on most cuts still to be announced in the coming months. It also proved that despite fighting rhetoric, there is no new approach for New Labour.

The day after the lobby Lewisham Unison branch passed a motion to prepare for industrial action against the cutbacks, showing workers' growing anger and willingness to fight.

North East

FOLLOWING THE Northern Public Services Alliance's successful launch at a meeting of 200 Unison, PCS and Unite members on 24 June, meetings have been organised across north-east England to launch local campaigns. The Alliance has the support of the Northern TUC and all the public sector unions.

A Unison member

In a region where 34% of jobs are in the public sector following the destruction of the mining, shipbuilding and steel industries, the Tory/Liberal budget and autumn spending review threatens to destroy at least 50,000 public sector jobs and devastate services over the next three years. A return to the 15% plus unemployment levels of the 80s and 90s is likely.

These meetings are an opportunity to start building mass campaigns involving both public sector workers and service users. It is vital they support the call of the PCS and others for the TUC to organise a national demonstration against these attacks.

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In The Socialist 21 July 2010:

Warning: NHS under attack

Socialist Party youth and students

Youth and students: organise to fight for a future

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Class struggles on the rise

Anti-cuts campaign

Stand united, fight the cuts!

Lessons of the cuts

Education workers must teach Tories a lesson

Fast news

Socialist Party workplace news

Union recommends BT pay deal

Stop the courts closures

Wales: No to fire service cuts

Strike action wins at Tube Lines

Swansea Linamar

Cuts blogger!

Socialist Party workplace analysis

PCS: a strategy to stop the cuts

TUC refuses national demo

Unite the struggle to defend pensions

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Con-Dems propose denationalisation of the NHS

Socialist Party

The Socialist Party needs you!

More join the Socialist Party in Yorkshire

Funding the socialist fightback

International socialist news and analysis

Building new workers' parties and the tasks of socialists

Egypt: Thousands protest over brutal police killing


Harder work, longer hours... All part and parcel?

A testing 'pudding' for councillors

Keep probation services public


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