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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2020

Big Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

Surrey Unison on the march against austerity

Surrey Unison on the march against austerity   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Couchman, Surrey County Unison (personal capacity)

Over 150 delegates registered for the South East regional council meeting of local government union Unison which took place on 8 February. This was the biggest meeting for many years. There was a serious mood and a clear willingness to start the fight-back against Boris Johnson's Tory government.

There were nine motions on the agenda, including our Surrey County branch motion calling on Labour councils to fight the cuts. I made the point that Unison, as the biggest trade union representing members in local government, must adopt a position of supporting Labour councils and councillors who make a stand against the cuts. I gave the example of socialist-led Liverpool City Council in the 1980s.

Two other Socialist Party members spoke in the discussion, Paul Tovey and Chris Pickett. A range of other supporting speakers included Diana Leach (Unison national executive committee member) and Antoinette Solera from Reading, who spoke about how their branch and other local trade unions have been protesting against their Labour council outsourcing to union-busters Greenwich Leisure Limited!

National action

Ours was definitely the motion of the day, and it topped the poll for motions to go from the region to Unison's national conference in June. If it gets on the agenda and is passed there, we can use that to push the national union into taking action which reflects this position.

All the Unison Action broad left candidates who stood for regional positions were elected.

A motion was also moved by Socialist Party member Paul Tovey from Bucks Health branch on developing a campaign for a South East cost of living allowance, building on the current Thames Valley Allowance campaign. This was also passed unanimously.

The day was topped off with Kye Gbangbola, from the Truth About Zane campaign, as the guest speaker (see 'Five years on - and still no justice for Zane' at socialistparty.org.uk). The campaign has 90,000 signatures on its petition now and is holding a commemorative public event at the House of Lords on 12 February.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 12 February 2020:


News

Tackling climate change: Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

Windrush deportations: end the hostile environment

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

Them & Us

What We Heard


NHS

NHS: Fight for full funding!

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Callous Tory cuts to children's speech therapy in Nottinghamshire


Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges


Workplace news

Big Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

PCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members

Westex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

University strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

East London school strikes against academisation continue

Foreign Office workers' strike

Solidarity with Turkish workers

Lambeth Unison letter

London NSSN meeting

Solidarity with victimised bus rep Moe

Support Clive Walder


Cuts

How to resist tory attacks on local communities

Cuts councillors are the real problem

Council houses - not private property developers


International

Sinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

Lebanon - mass protests cut across sectarian division


Campaigns

Build independent workers' media with May Day greetings

Building a working-class movement for Tamil rights

Hackney: We don't want homes and retail units working-class people can't afford

20 years of housing failure

Socialist Sellers


Universal Credit

New BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Nottingham: death of vulnerable claimant

UC stopped without warning


 

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Related links:

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triangleUnison NEC elections: United left challenge needed to fight slaughter of jobs and services

triangleUnison get sec election shows left can win NEC

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Unison general secretary ballot closes

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Union:

trianglePresident of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

Council:

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