Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/22995

Posted on 14 June 2016 at 11:43 GMT

'Stop council cuts budgets' demands GMB congress

Kim Hendry, GMB conference delegate (personal capacity)

In a landmark debate, delegates at the GMB union congress in Bournemouth last week voted overwhelmingly to call on Labour councils to refuse to implement any more cuts to local budgets and services. This is now official GMB policy.

The motion (text below) from London region, was submitted by GMB organised staff who work for PCS, the civil servants union. It demanded that Labour councils set legal, "no-cuts" budgets using a variety of financial measures, including spending the billions of pounds of general and capital reserves they hold "for a rainy day". The motion recognises, of course, that these are short term measures, and are designed to buy time to build a national anti-cuts campaign "linking councils, trade unions and communities in a fight against the Tories' austerity programme".

The seconder of the motion, the branch secretary of one of the GMB council branches at Barking and Dagenham council, spoke powerfully of the attacks on pay and conditions of workers, and moves towards privatisation, of the Labour council. And he called for the council to use its reserves to keep workers on, not pay them redundancy.

Attempt to bar motion

This important motion was only debated after delegates, in an almost unprecedented move, overturned the national standing orders committee recommendation to bar the motion from the main agenda.

During the four days of the main congress, delegate after delegate moved motions which called for action to oppose, or offset, austerity cuts. Many of these cuts are being imposed by Labour councils that are slashing services, making GMB members redundant and attacking their terms and conditions. The "no cuts" motion therefore strongly resonated with exasperated and angry delegates.

The national central executive committee (CEC) reluctantly supported the motion, qualifying it by arguing that one of the recommendations (that councils can legally pool reserves) could lead to shared services and job cuts. The CEC also claimed that councils are already dipping into reserves. These objections - which are not meaningful concerns, in my view - do not weaken the strength of the motion nor its instructions.

It is now for branches and activists to lobby the new general secretary, Tim Roache, asking him how he intends to implement these demands.

Developing mood

The local government conferences of Unite and Unison, as well as the Welsh TUC, have recently passed very similar motions, so it's clear there is a mood developing amongst trade union activists to directly challenge those Labour councils that are doing the Tories' dirty work for them.

As mover of the motion, I made the point that waiting for a Corbyn government in 2020 will be too late. By that time there will be few services in our local communities left to defend. Adult social care, children's services, Sure Start, council housing, schools, young people's services, parks and swimming pools, refuse collections, libraries, street lighting, roads - all these services are being cut, privatised or lost for good.

On Sunday, Jeremy Corbyn told delegates: "Tory austerity cuts are a political choice, not an economic necessity". The London region motion argued that Labour councillors also have a choice. Setting no-cuts budgets is entirely legal, and Labour councils have 4.5 billion in general reserves alone. Even Tory Local Government minister Eric Pickles has referred to these reserves (albeit for cynical motives) as "piggybanks" which councils can use if they don't want to implement cuts. The motion also referred to other measures such as prudential borrowing powers available to Labour councils.


GMB congress, motion PS8

This motion was originally on the Public Services section conference agenda and can be found on p206-07 of the Final Agenda (motion PS8). However, as a result of the London region successfully 'referencing back' this motion at the start of congress, it was transferred to the national agenda.

Local council budgets

This conference notes that:

This conference therefore agrees our position is:

1. To call on Labour councils to set legal no-cuts budgets, use reserves, capitalise eligible general fund expenditure and borrow prudentially to generate resources so that no Labour council need make cuts. These are short term measures to buy time to build a national campaign.

2. That the financial measures must be combined with a national campaign, linking councils, trade unions and communities in a fight against the Tories' austerity programme.

3. To call on the GMB's political officers/department to prepare a concrete strategy to take the points on this motion forward urgently.

GMB@PCS branch, London Region

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






Related links:

GMB:

triangleGMB union: NHS reps reject Tory pay offer

triangleReject the mega-supermarket merger: nationalise to save jobs

triangleKFC delivery crisis: make the bosses pay, not the workers!

triangleFerrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

triangleEqual sick pay rights for staff at Charlton Park Academy

Cuts:

triangleWomen's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

trianglePressure building on councillors to stop fire service cuts

triangleService users and families protest learning disability service cuts

triangleWelsh Labour NHS hypocrisy at Tredegar rally

Council:

triangleSummer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

triangleBin workers take strike action after talks with Kirklees council collapse

triangleSocial care funding crisis: no to an age levy - make the super-rich pay

Labour:

triangle'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

triangleUnite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction

Austerity:

triangleTories in crisis - Act now to get them out!

Local government:

triangleBig victory for Wigan NHS strike against privatisation

Council workers:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/7/18

Swansea

Victory for Swansea postal workers against management victimisation

16/7/18

Far-right

Confronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to defeat the far-right

13/7/18

Socialist Students

School students protest and walk out against Trump

11/7/18

National Shop Stewards Network

NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

11/7/18

Donald Trump

Hit the streets against Trump and capitalism

11/7/18

The Socialist

Issue 1000 drive shows sales potential

11/7/18

Fighting Fund

Tories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!

11/7/18

NHS

Yes to NHS - No to PFI!

11/7/18

Leeds

NHS Leeds: Campaigners halt outsourcing... for now

11/7/18

Domestic violence

Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

11/7/18

Unite

Unite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction

11/7/18

Tyneside

Tyneside shopfitting plant lays off 61 workers

11/7/18

Huddersfield

Summer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

11/7/18

Hackney

Hackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work

11/7/18

PCS

Campaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot

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: 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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999