Glasgow Unison’s fighting strategy

Brian Smith, Secretary, Glasgow city Unison

In the May 2012 local government elections Labour held control of Glasgow city council, resisting a strong Scottish National Party challenge.

However, the preparedness of the new council to resist the Con-Dem onslaught and protect the people of Glasgow has been exposed by the announcement at the end of September that Labour intend to slash £50 million from the council budget.

Glasgow council has cut nearly £200 million from its budget in the last four years.

The consequences for workers, service users and the wider population will be huge. It will mean 1,000 jobs going by 2013 on top of 2,500 staff who have left since 2010. Another 1,000 jobs will mean one in five jobs have gone in four or five years.

To find this level of savings goes way beyond counting the paper clips and making efficiency savings.

Social work, education and environmental services will be the major areas where jobs are likely to go. This is about large scale job losses and cuts to frontline services.

This is the resolution passed by the branch, under a socialist leadership, to send to Unison’s Scottish Council on 1 December:

“Coordinated trade union strike action to defend jobs, wages, pensions and services in Scotland.

This meeting notes that the political parties in the Scottish Parliament and local councils are making the overall level of cuts in public spending asked of them by the UK government.

Much of the UK government’s policy programme is a direct or indirect attack on jobs, wages, pensions and services which Unison can never agree to.

The UK government’s wider austerity measures, attacks on welfare benefits and overall management of the economy represent further attacks on working people and the most vulnerable in our society.

The trade union movement must now step-up its campaign to defend jobs, wages, pensions and services by organising coordinated strike action across all sectors of the economy.

This meeting therefore agrees that Unison Scotland immediately take the necessary steps to promote with all STUC affiliated trade unions the need for a coordinated industrial action strategy beginning with a one-day strike across Scotland, and to coordinate the strike with any action by trade unions at a UK level as appropriate.

In addition to the above, this meeting agrees to produce written material and publicity in support of this policy for distribution among members and the wider community.”