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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2019

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Barnet Council workers on strike against outsourcing in 2015, photo by Socialist Party

Barnet Council workers on strike against outsourcing in 2015, photo by Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Sally Griffiths, Salford Socialist Party

The Labour Party says it will cease the never-ending drip-feed of public money to private sector leeches, with its policy announcement that a future Labour government would push councils to bring services back in-house.

While this is very welcome, Labour needs to send a clear message to the working class, because that is not what we see in our workplaces and communities.

After years of selling services to private companies, cutting jobs, moving workers to the private sector on worse conditions, and fighting against trade union recognition tooth and nail, it is hard to imagine most of the current Labour councillors implementing this policy.

While we have seen colleagues lose their jobs, councillors have ignored public protests about outrageous cuts to services - some have bleated about "difficult decisions" and "tough choices".

Councillors must pledge to implement these anti-privatisation policies now. There can be no wriggling out of promises the week after councillors are elected.

Labour seeks to calm the squeals from big business, by saying it will wait until "contracts are up" or lawfully terminated. Instead, they have to be bold, and bring back services immediately. While workers wait for private contracts to expire, their pay is cut and their terms and conditions are removed.

Corporate parasites will challenge legalities. They will take any steps to keep their nose in the public sector money trough. A determined movement of workers can stop them.

The Thatcher-initiated continued sell-off of public services has provided fat cats with decades of profits. We would demand compensation to be paid only in the case of proven need, not to the fat cats.

Bringing public services back in-house is only the start. We should not forget what has been stolen from us since the capitalists forced the poor to pay for their crisis.

It is vital that we demand restoration of services that have been cut. For example in Salford, restoring disabled children's transport and ensuring council-run nurseries - two campaigns the Socialist Party has helped support.

For too long Labour councils have administrated savage Tory cuts, but councillors have a choice. Labour's latest policy makes that choice all the easier and more achievable, even under a Tory government.

Councils could use their reserves and borrowing powers to fund no-cuts, needs-based budgets now. This would make Labour's 'for the many, not the few' believable to workers and more than just a soundbite.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 31 July 2019:


What we think

Boris, Brexit and British capitalism

CWI refounded with determination and confidence


Special feature

"The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit


Socialist Party news and analysis

Build a working-class movement to force an election

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Tories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

Aristocrats are rich after all... and getting richer


International socialist news and analysis

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the TUC for workers' action to defeat Johnson

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

"Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint

Plymouth posties deliver defiant message to bullying bosses

"BEIS: stop pISSing about and give outsourcing the boot!"

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Sainsbury's distribution workers' second 24-hour strike against cuts to sick pay

Nottingham Deliveroo riders strike against unfair algorithm

Bromley library workers strike against running down


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield: 100% council homes at Meridian Water!

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Tolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

Barking: campaigning over housing safety

July climate strikes: link up with the workers' movement

Ilford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Boris Johnson 'coronation' - demos say: boot him out!

The Socialist Party has moved!


Opinion

The Socialist inbox

Huge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant


 

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