Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 September 2013

Industrial and political battles at Hull city council

Mick Whale

It has been a week of twists and turns in the battle to defend terms and conditions for Hull council workers. The workforce is clear that if you stand together you can have an impact on management and politicians alike.

A few councillors, including the magnificent Hull three who voted against the cuts and were suspended from the Labour group for their actions, are completely opposed to any of the cuts. Others are just starting to realise the devastation that faces the city and are starting to panic. Another group wants to smash the council workforce and privatise as many services as possible.

The local trade union leadership pointed out, when Labour took over from the Lib Dems in 2011, that if they implemented the cuts Labour would be seen as the party of cuts. This is now being borne out as the Lib Dems have started to regain support.

The trade union negotiators started discussions with the council in good faith. But negotiators and the workers they represent were furious to find that behind our backs, the authority had sent out letters which effectively served notice of redeployment!

Some Labour politicians are blaming the officers for sending out the letter without their knowledge. This may well be true, but who is running the council?

The unions' response was bold and immediate. With very little notice, we organised a successful lobby of a Labour group meeting. Many of the councillors were visibly shaken.

Some Labour leaders think that all they need to do is to explain the severity of the crisis facing the city and the workforce will accept the cuts. The authority privately admits that around 1,500 jobs will have to go in the next two years. But the workforce has already rejected cuts in pay and terms and conditions in a ballot.

Some of the more cynical Labour leaders will probably claim that the failure of the workforce to accept cuts will mean they will have to fall elsewhere. But we will not allow the council to play the workforce off against services and service users in a race to the bottom.

Significantly, some Labour leaders are accepting in private that Labour should have joined with the trade unions to fight for more resources for the city. They have yet to make this clear but it is an indication of the pressure which is mounting on them.

The cabinet has set in train proposals to dismiss the workforce and re-engage on worse terms and conditions. But also, senior members of the cabinet have been given a brief to try and negotiate a more "acceptable" set of cuts with the trade union negotiators.

The problem remains that the council has budgeted to make 2.8 million cuts in terms and conditions. It is difficult to see how a package could be put together that would be accepted by the workforce!

The unions will take part in negotiations but we will not allow them to deflect us from campaigning for action among our members.

Increasingly, the battle to defend jobs, terms and conditions is taking on a political rather than simply industrial colour. Council employees are increasingly understanding that they need a different leadership in the council.

Some see this as a change in the Labour leadership but many are questioning whether they can support Labour at all.

Labour should remember that it was the mass ranks of the local authority workforce that swept them into office in 2010. Those same council workers will be the shock troops campaigning for anti-cuts candidates in 2014 if they continue on the current course.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 25 September 2013:

Socialist Party NHS feature

Mass Action Can save our NHS

Another crackpot scheme for the NHS

What we think

Labour conference - no socialist policies

Socialist Party feature

Rotten, wasteful capitalism has to go - the case for a socialist alternative

Socialism 2013

Socialism 2013

Socialist Party news and analysis

Labour to scrap bedroom tax in 2015 - we demand an amnesty now!

Them & Us

Socialist Students

University unions' ballot: Students and staff - unite and fight!

Socialist Students gains new members

'Success' for owners - zero for workers

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Neo-Nazis murder Pavlos Fyssas, a left activist and rapper

Greek teachers show the way forward

Socialist Party workplace news

Bakers rise against Hovis: Victory shows zero-hours can be beaten

Support Teachers' fight to defend education

Industrial and political battles at Hull city council

Stop privatisation of the Probation Service

Glasgow Unison strike wins important victory

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reviews and comments

Book review: Militant Liverpool - A City on the Edge

Obituary - Steve Draper


Home   |   The Socialist 25 September 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleHull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies

triangleFCC Environment strike solid

triangleHull workers united against bosses

triangleWorkers strike back!


triangleHomes for All - Not billionaire profit!

trianglePassing the council cuts test

triangleHated Blairite mayor ousted: now fight for a no-cuts Newham!

triangleLeicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy


triangleFor a fighting, democratic Labour Party

triangleJeremy Corbyn and Brexit

triangleThe Socialist inbox


triangleSchool strikes against academy management

triangleCuts harm kids' health

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Homes for All - Not billionaire profit!



School strikes against academy management



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018