Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18157

Posted on 17 February 2014 at 17:28 GMT

Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign march, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014, photo Pete Fry

Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign march, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014, photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Marching to save children's centres in Canterbury

Dave Semple, East Kent Socialist Party

Kent socialists, trade unionists and parents from the Save Kent Children's Centres campaign staged a 70-strong march through the centre of Canterbury on Saturday 15th February in protest at the closure of 12 children's centres by the Tory county council.

Following two previous demonstrations and thousands of names on a petition, Kent county council retreated from its initial proposal of closing 23 children's centres. The protests of parents, underpinned and organised by socialists in the trade unions, forced a backtrack on 11 centres.

In the last week, however, up to 300 staff at the children's centres have been told that they will have to re-apply for their jobs, as opening hours of centres are reduced and the council seeks to strip out resources. These resources include fully qualified teachers at each centre.

Save Kent Children’s Centre campaign march, Canterbury on Saturday 15th February , photo Pete Fry

Save Kent Children’s Centre campaign march, Canterbury on Saturday 15th February , photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Rally speeches

Saturday's march culminated in a rally addressed by David Lloyd from the Unison branch responsible for the workers in these centres. He slammed Kent county council for ignoring its own procedures and failing to heed a parents' petition to refer the decisions on closures back to the full council. Parents and workers are under no illusion that the full council would decide differently, but it would give more space to build the campaign against all closures.

During the rally, local library campaigners from Strood and Whitstable spoke about the need to link up the campaigns. Support was voiced from every quarter of the room for a campaign against all cuts. Mike Sargent from the RMT executive and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) steering committee received hearty applause when he demanded election candidates who are accountable, unlike any of the main parties.

Unison plans

Though Unison is to debate holding an indicative ballot for strike action in the coming months, the Tories have now pushed through this year's budget. Managers have been bullying staff to keep them from taking leaflets when going to work, let alone getting involved in the campaign.

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page speaking at the rally, Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page speaking at the rally, Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014   (Click to enlarge)

The Unison branch committee, working with the NUT and ATL, who represent teachers working in the centres, have restricted themselves to lobbying. To win a ballot, they would have to lay out a detailed plan of action to defend the 600 jobs at risk over the next three years and link up with other unions county wide.

Members of the Socialist Party have been pushing exactly this option - and it would be rendered even more powerful by coupling it to running election candidates who will vote against all cuts. Virtually everyone who addressed the rally - far beyond the Socialist Party members or known TUSC supporters present - said something similar about backing anti-cuts candidates.

Although there were a few Labour Party activists and a smattering of Greens present, it was clear that neither the Greens nor Labour had mobilised their members. In Canterbury alone, Labour has 400 members. A Green candidate was heard boasting that the Greens have several hundred also. The most either could muster was to describe the emailing of Sure Start redundancies as "insensitive".

TUSC had by far the most visible presence on the demonstration and it was clear from the rally that it correctly articulated the demands of the local activists. The mood is there for a political alternative to austerity, even in the heartlands of Tory Britain. It is our responsibility to consistently provide the answers for which they are searching, and to build their confidence in TUSC.

Saturday's demonstration in Canterbury was a strong step in this direction.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 February 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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






Related links:

Canterbury:

triangleCanterbury pride

triangleCanterbury Socialist Party attends 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleEast Kent Socialist Party: Britain & Europe after the referendum

Children:

triangleTragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

triangleFailing academy chain strips school assets - end academisation!

triangleNews in brief

triangleOpinion: foster care is work - carers deserve workers' rights

Council:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: How can we get Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies into our local council?

triangleBuilding the campaign against clearances of the working class

triangleNo fudge with the right wing

TUSC:

triangleTUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

triangleBuilding support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

Cuts:

triangleBradford Socialist Party: A strategy to defeat the cuts

Labour:

triangleHaringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

20/2/18

Manchester

After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

19/2/18

Walthamstow

Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

16/2/18

Haringey

No fudge with the right wing

15/2/18

TUSC

TUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

14/2/18

Haringey

Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

14/2/18

UCU

Uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

14/2/18

Cardiff

Enjoyable and successful Cardiff Refugee Rights gig

14/2/18

Carlisle

Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

14/2/18

Firefighters

Staines fire services saved

14/2/18

Surrey

Threat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council

14/2/18

Woolwich

Woolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

14/2/18

London

Sadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

14/2/18

Mansfield

Stop press: victory - campaign saves NHS rehab ward

8/2/18

Newham

Teachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

7/2/18

Unison

Unison national women's conference

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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999