Photo: Save our Sebright
Photo: Save our Sebright

Labour has faced protests, now it could face strikes

Brian Debus, Hackney Unison chair and Socialist Party member

Parents and supporters spoke at a lobby of Hackney Council to expose Labour’s short-sighted plan to close, privatise, and threaten jobs at several children centres. 120 childcare places could be cut, and up to 50 staff made redundant.

Natalie Aguilera, one the leaders of the campaign, stated these proposals will cut a vital community resource, and affect the most vulnerable. Hackney has the third-highest poverty rate in London.

Holding a placard with a photograph of Labour mayor Caroline Woodley campaigning for affordable childcare, Natalie asked: “What’s happened Caroline? What’s happened to your principles?”

Diane Abbott, suspended Labour MP for Hackney North, stated: “I hope the council will think again, and stop the children’s centres closures”.

I spoke to say that it’s about time this Labour council grew a backbone, and stopped implementing Tory cuts. The council could lead a mass campaign of resistance, linking up similar campaigns, community groups, trade unions, and all those willing to fight to return the £150 million stolen from Hackney by this Tory government. In the interim, the council could use its reserves, and not cut or close services.

The campaign will now await the outcome of a consultation that has generated widescale opposition. Unison trade union members have also reaffirmed their willingness to take strike action against closure and privatisation, leading to a ballot in the coming weeks.