Manchester: Redundancy threat to police officers and staff

“I don’t think my chief constable would like it if I bought that,” a smiling lady said to to me as I sold copies of the Socialist outside a meeting of thousands of Greater Manchester Police staff facing job losses.

Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party

The meeting, called by GMP management at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, heard that 2,944 jobs will go. This is part of the government’s generalised attack on public services, as implemented locally by an alliance of all three main parties, and should be opposed as such.

Both ‘civilian’ staff and police officers will lose their jobs which, apart from the hardship suffered by the individuals concerned, will make crimes and miscarriages of justice more likely, and do nothing to solve the problems associated with the police.

According to the Manchester Evening News, almost a quarter of the workforce will go in the next four years.

1,567 of these civilian jobs are in “departments expected to be trimmed or even dismantled [including] human resources, finance, public relations, fleet vehicle maintenance, cleaning, IT and training”.

It seems probable that many of these will be compulsory redundancies. 1,377 police officer posts will go in the same period through a combination of not replacing officers who leave, and forcible early retirement.

The Unison union which organises the civilian workers has slammed the announcement. As with unions such as those representing the London firefighters recently or the prison officers under the last government, there needs to be a swift move to action.

Unison should meet the threat of compulsory redundancies by preparing for an industrial action ballot and organising a major march through Manchester city centre, calling on the trade union movement to support it.

GMP employees should join with other public sector workers taking action and marching against the cuts, such as on the lobby of Manchester City Council on Wednesday 8 December and forthcoming national trade union demonstrations.

The common enemy is the Con-Dem and New Labour politicians who intend to make working people pay for the bosses’ recession.

The solution is a united mass struggle. The alternative is socialist public services, under the democratic control of and accountable to the communities who rely on them, as well as the workers who deliver them.