Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 June 2015

Council cancels union organising time to pave way for cuts

Striking against privatisation in Bromley, photo Rob Williams

Striking against privatisation in Bromley, photo Rob Williams   (Click to enlarge)

Onay Kasab, Unite regional organiser

A Tory council in south London has withdrawn vital time for staff representatives to do trade union work. Meanwhile, it is preparing to demolish council services. The timing is no coincidence.

Council workers, residents and service users in the London borough of Bromley are marching on 13 June. We will send a loud and clear message to the Conservative leadership: people and services first!

Trade union facility time - paid time off for elected stewards to organise and represent members - has been abolished. Not by rogue managers, but following a political decision by Bromley Conservatives.

These are no "shy" Tories. They oppose public services: they see them as a tax burden on the rich, which should be profit-making businesses instead. Councillors publicly stated that taxpayers must not foot the bill for trade union 'time off'. This was the sole justification for their attack.

The law makes clear that employers must provide this time. Leaving this aside, general union Unite called the council's bluff, offering to foot the bill - 'costing' the taxpayer nothing. The council refused!

In place of facility time, Unite and Unison trade union branch secretaries must request time case by case. Surprise, surprise - requests have already been refused.

This attack comes at the same time as a mass privatisation programme. In-house staffing will fall from over 3,000 to 300.

Proposals for libraries demonstrate the Tories' sheer arrogance: sell them off, and have volunteers take the place of paid professionals.


The council undertook a public consultation. It asked - in light of the 'need' to make over 60 million of cuts over five years - did library users agree with the council's proposals?

An amazing 83% said they did not agree, and wanted services run directly by the council. Those few who supported the privatise-and-volunteer option likely did so because it was posed as stopping closures. Despite this result, the Tories are going ahead.

This is the same party which says over 40% of union members in 'core' public services must vote for a strike - or it can't happen. Such a system counts not voting as voting against! They clearly have no problem with this gross hypocrisy.

But we are not sitting back and taking it. Unite members have started a campaign, including strike action, to defend services and union rights.

What is happening in Bromley is what awaits the rest of the country. It is now essential the battles in council after council are joined up, and strikes co-ordinated.

The Tories are launching a national campaign to attack public services and trade union rights. That demands a national trade union response - starting with co-ordinated national strike action against all employers' attacks. This could be a step towards a 24-hour general strike against austerity.

Immediately, the Trades Union Congress must organise dissent against the proposed new anti-strike laws. This should include a weekday demonstration outside parliament at their first reading.

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

In The Socialist 10 June 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

7K rise for MPs... Peanuts for us!

Strikes and bold campaigning can beat academy plans

Coulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

Fifa scandals - a rottenness based on corporate greed

Fight devastating spending cuts

Royal Mail sell-off: Public service, not private profit

Can Corbyn's left challenge succeed?

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Crunch time for Syriza?

900 attend rally to re-elect Kshama Sawant!

Socialist Party feature

No to a capitalist EU, Yes to a socialist Europe!

Socialist Party workplace news

Fight austerity! Fight anti-union laws!

Council cancels facility time to pave way for cuts

Gains for left in Unison elections

'Clear fighting strategy' needed for council workers

RMT strikes for unfairly sacked train guard

Bakers' union debates political representation

Striking porters 'a hundred times stronger'

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Promising futures' wasted by cuts

Join TUSC on the march against austerity

Newcastle demo sets a striking tone

Leeds TUSC calls for not-for-profit letting agency

Protesters tell Labour councils to fight Tory cuts

Warrington TUSC

Readers' comments and reviews

This Skype is the limit!

1945 - when Britain said no to Churchill

'Socialism is the only way to stop austerity and poverty'


Home   |   The Socialist 10 June 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleBromley library workers win strike campaign

triangleBromley libraries - indefinite strike action continues

triangleBromley library workers walk out over 'insulting' pay offer

triangleBallots against Bromley privatisers

triangleBromley library workers strike against privatisation


trianglePCS union: nominate Chris Baugh as Left Unity candidate for assistant general secretary

triangleDevon foster carers fight 30% cut in allowances

triangleNewham finance staff fight pay and grading insult

triangleCoordinated catering and courier strikes prove potential for mass union mobilisation


triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Stop Swansea council cuts

triangleUniversal credit = universal misery


triangleHomeless driven from Windsor streets for royal wedding: abolish the monarchy and end homelessness now!

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Trade union:

triangleTrade union model motion on fighting the far right: jobs, homes and services, not racism


triangleStriking Brum home carers reject 'final' pay cut offer


triangleTories' Brexit bust-up - general election now


triangleCable makers strike against real-terms pay cut

Public services:

triangle10 years since the financial crash - the socialist answer to capitalist crisis

Facility time:

trianglePCS election: Vote Democracy Alliance


triangle8,000 Glasgow workers plan historic mass strike

Council workers:

triangleReading council plans privatisation - set a no-cuts budget instead!


triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Not-for-profit public sector

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Grimethorpe dinner ladies stage all-out strike against redundancy



PCS union: nominate Chris Baugh as Left Unity candidate for assistant general secretary



Demo against far-right DFLA


Socialist Students

De Montfort freshers stall



Devon foster carers fight 30% cut in allowances



Socialism - the podcast offering Marxist analysis for the movement against capitalism



Newham finance staff fight pay and grading insult



Cable makers' pay strike bites as production falls 33%



Bolton hospital workers strike as subsidiary company refuses NHS pay rates



Uber drivers strike against unfair 'deactivation' and low pay


South Western Railway

South Western rail workers launch five-day safety strike to save guards



Striking Brum home carers reject 'final' pay cut offer



'Corbyn-council' faces a choice: Implement or fight the cuts



Peterloo film exposes bloody nature of capitalism


Universal Credit

New anti-poll tax type revolt needed today

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: 0784 114 4890

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

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018