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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 November 2016

Newcastle council cuts: opportunity for trade union fightback

Newcastle Unison takes on the council on Twitter

Newcastle Unison takes on the council on Twitter   (Click to enlarge)

William Jarrett, Newcastle Socialist Party

Newcastle residents and council staff have borne the brunt of Tory austerity. 200 million of central government funding has been stripped from the cash-starved council since 2010. An important refuge for women and children fleeing domestic crises is slated for closure.

There are even plans to eliminate residential bin collection. With a council 'living wage' of 7.85, staff pay has been stalled only by national agreements, until now.

With a projected deficit of 30 million for 2017 and a further loss of 70 million from the central government grant by 2020, Newcastle's Labour council announced it intends to slash staff pay by 2.5 million, citing the possibility of 100 redundancies as an alternative.

Some Newcastle Labour councillors are associated closely with Jeremy Corbyn's successful leadership campaigns. The well-rehearsed 'heavy hearts' rhetoric has already been trafficked widely in local media, with councillor Veronica Dunn telling the Evening Chronicle: "This is not something that we want to do at all. Government cuts mean we have to make massive savings to protect services and jobs.''

Local workers appear positioned to fight though, with a coalition between Unison, general workers' unions GMB and Unite, and construction union Ucatt. Unison branch secretary and national executive committee member Paul Gilroy is playing a leading role in this.

Newcastle residents frequently communicate their anger about the Labour council to Socialist Party activists.

A common complaint is frustration with Labour councillors all too happy to be identified with left-wing causes, but who demonstrate no understanding of, or concern for, the damage they inflict on the community by unflinchingly passing round after round of devastating cuts.

The council's trade unions now have an opportunity to fight back, to protect their pay and their communities. The experience of Durham's besieged teaching assistants and their defiant stand against Durham Labour's cuts could and should inspire a new wave of resistance to austerity.

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In The Socialist 9 November 2016:


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Bosses' government, bosses' EU...fight for socialism

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Socialist Party news and analysis

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Action needed to defend workers at the sharp end of prisons crisis

Courts and tribunal services face huge cuts

Newcastle council cuts: opportunity for trade union fightback

Birmingham's Labour council freezes workers' pay

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International socialist news and analysis

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Ireland: Gardai strike threat

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Socialist Party comments and reviews

Horror of health-wrecking toil for Polish migrants

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Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Newcastle:

triangleRMT strikes in Newcastle and London

triangleOver 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march

triangleNorthern health campaigns conference discusses the fightback

triangleRMT rail members buoyed by coordinated action

triangleRMT strikes against removal of train guards spreads

Union:

triangleUsdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

triangleGender pay gap figures show need for trade union action

triangleMcStrike: ballot for strike action at six McDonald's stores

trianglePCS elections: Vote for Democracy Alliance candidates!

Trade union:

triangleFCC Wilmington refuse workers' strike in hull stands firm

triangleVictimised recycling strikers uncowed as Hull strike wave builds

triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action

Cuts:

triangleCoventry TUSC: Council cuts - how can we fight back?

triangleLewisham & Southwark Socialist Party: What would a socialist council look like?

Council:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Our local TUSC council challenge

Labour:

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: How can councils protect public services?

Government:

triangleMay elections: a chance to fight attacks on health and social care

Unison:

triangleTaking the anti-austerity message to the chancellor's back yard

Socialist Party:

triangleSheffield Socialist Party May Day meeting

Workers:

triangleBromley library workers win strike campaign

Unions:

triangleFor Whom the School Bell Tolls: Our kids or the Tories?

Councillors:

triangleLewisham & Southwark Socialist Party: A socialist perspective on antisemitism & the left

Austerity:

triangleHull says no to war, no to austerity

Durham:

triangleDurham TAs reject council's pay offer

Teaching assistants:

triangleNewham academy strikes spread to Cumberland school

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleFor a fighting, democratic Labour Party

Redundancies:

triangleLiverpool Uni staff set to fight 220 job losses

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