Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2001

Council workers back anti-cuts candidate

A MASS meeting of 400 council workers in Hackney has agreed to continue their campaign against attacks on their pay and conditions. Workers are determined that they should not have to pay for Hackney's financial crisis, caused by government cuts in grants and incompetence and mismanagement by councillors and senior managers.

Jim Horton

New contracts have been issued removing entitlement to contractual redundancy pay and bonus payments. Low-paid workers, facing pay cuts of 1,500 this year, have been threatened with the sack if they do not sign. To resounding cheers and applause at the mass meeting, one council worker ripped up his new contract.

UNISON is advising members not to sign the contracts and will take cases to tribunal for unfair dismissal if the council go ahead with issuing 90-day notices to the workforce. The key to winning this dispute is further industrial action.

A stewards' conference on 10 May backed selective action but the unions will need to respond with all-out action if management go ahead with mass sackings.

During the seven month-old dispute council workers have received huge support from Hackney residents who recognise that they are also fighting to defend everyone's services.

In order to build on this community support, council stewards have agreed to support Glenn Kelly as an anti-cuts, anti-corruption candidate for the Northwold by-election on 7 June. Socialist Party member Glenn Kelly is a local government worker, resident in Hackney and a member of the London executive of UNISON.

Initially UNISON branch chair, Brian Debus, was the agreed candidate but the law prevents council workers standing in their own borough. Stewards therefore switched their support to Glenn.

Glenn's standing allows council workers and all those opposed to the cuts to fight a united campaign for fully funded, high-quality services for Hackney.

The previous Liberal Democrat councillor for Northwold was jailed, along with another Tory councillor, for vote-rigging. While in office these councillors voted for the cuts package. Canvassing the ward has revealed huge enthusiasm for the idea of an independent workers' candidate fighting cuts and corruption.

Alliance opposition

UNFORTUNATELY THE Socialist Alliance in Hackney, dominated by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), has decided to stand a candidate against the council workers in the Northwold ward.

This mistake has been compounded by the decision of the Socialist Alliance executive on 12 May, which voted against a resolution supported by national chair Dave Nellist, calling for the alliance candidate to withdraw and the council workers' candidate to be given a free run. This is a bad decision when council workers are at a critical stage of their industrial dispute.

Council workers should be given full backing for making a political stand against the hated Labour/Tory coalition running Hackney council. The election of an anti-cuts candidate backed by the stewards would give enormous encouragement to the workforce. Combined with further industrial action, management can be forced to back down.

Hackney Socialist Alliance (HSA) is already standing in the parliamentary seat of Hackney South, and in the Queensbridge and Springfield wards. Council workers want to stand in just one ward, Northwold.

HSA says that their candidate will fight on an anti-cuts platform but will also raise socialist policies. Council workers expect nothing less. But HSA will not focus on the cuts or the fight of council workers.

Free run for New Labour

In the run-up to the strike on 1 May, while HSA had many posters up around Hackney on a variety of issues, there were no posters supporting or even publicising the strike. Meanwhile HSA is prepared to give Diane Abbott, the New Labour candidate a free run in the parliamentary seat covering Northwold. But they're not prepared to do the same for a working-class anti-cuts candidate.

Although the council workers are not putting forward a full socialist programme they are raising demands that challenge Blair's capitalist policies, such as an end to privatisation, the return of 50 million worth of grants stolen by the government since 1997 and cancellation of the debts which currently cost every Hackney resident over 400 a year.

But the main issue is that workers in struggle are breaking from New Labour and should be supported by all those seeking to build a united Left alternative.

HSA claims that Glenn does not have the real backing of the council workforce. But UNISON is prevented by its own rules from officially supporting Glenn, however, leading stewards and branch officers have backed him.

The idea of standing an anti-cuts candidate was first raised at the beginning of the dispute in November and was discussed at an anti-cuts conference organised by UNISON on 3 December. (See column, right for a chronology of events.)

Unfortunately, attempts to reach a compromise with HSA have failed. Stewards offered them first choice of seat. Originally HSA insisted they wanted to stand Mitch Dublin in Northwold ward. Mitch is an SWP member and ex-council worker, now working for the private waste management company with the council contract.

The stewards then offered to stand in Queensbridge. When HSA changed its mind and argued for Mitch to be the candidate in Queensbridge, the stewards conceded and agreed to stand in Northwold.

The stewards also offered to put a statement of support for alliance candidates in other wards on their leaflets, provided this was approved by the stewards' conference. But HSA would not make any concessions.

The stewards were told that if a council worker wanted to stand as a candidate, this had to be under the banner of HSA.

The stewards decided to go ahead with standing an anti-cuts candidate and attended the HSA selection meeting on 9 May. But their arguments were ignored.

John Page, UNISON branch secretary, was prevented from finishing his speech. Shamefully the alliance meeting, overwhelmingly composed of SWP members, voted to stand against the stewards-backed candidate.

But 27 convenors, stewards and branch officers, including John Page and Brian Debus, UNISON branch secretary and chair support Glenn. (see box below).

A further 96 council workers signed a petition in support of Glenn at the mass meeting on 14 May.

What happened when

1 February

UNISON branch AGM passes motion calling on members not to pay into the union political fund.

19 April

Stewards conference agree to stand an anti-cuts candidate on 7 June, in one of the three council by-elections.

1 May

One-day strike of council workers. Anti-cuts candidate endorsed at mass meeting.

9 May

Hackney Socialist Alliance selection meeting decides to stand in all three ward by-elections. This means standing against the anti-cuts candidate, Glenn Kelly, in Northwold ward.

10 May

Stewards' conference back selective action against new contracts. 16 stewards and convenors, a majority of the meeting, endorse Glenn Kelly as candidate, making 27 in total.

12 May

Socialist Alliance national executive backs Hackney SA's decision to stand against Glenn Kelly, the anti-cuts candidate.

14 May

400 at UNISON mass meeting, which agrees to continue the fight against attacks on pay and conditions. 96 more council workers sign the petition in Glenn's support.

The stewards and convenors supporting Glenn Kelly's candidature

Brian Debus, UNISON chair, John Page, UNISON branch secretary, Jude Ritchie, education convenor, Steve Edwards, TGWU convenor, Louise Jackson, Social Services convenor. Khadija Wurie, convenor, Dalston Neighbourhood Office.

Stewards: Ricky Jones, education; Carlene Edwards, libraries; Chris Stone, Len Stephenson and Linda Challenger social services; Tony Hunt, Corporate Health and Safety; Kudu Omogbai, Dalston Housing Office; Daphne Ramsey, Policy/regeneration/communications.

Maya Vinobhai, Lindon House Nursery; Shirley Connors, Facilities, Management Services; Derek Fergus, Licensing; Sam Jess, CSSU; Clive Rattray, Trowbridge Day Centre; Sue O'Connor, Central Dept Estate Cleaner; Dorothy Plashett and Gary Chaplin Libraries; Nkrumah Maison, Housing; Joe Kirlew, Keltan House; Will Leng, Kay Adams and Jean Webster.

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

In The Socialist 18 May 2001:

Vote For A Socialist Alternative

Tuition fees no way! Fight Threats To Non-Payers

Taxing our patience

Major parties leave students in debt

Nellist launches Socialist Alliance manifesto

Women fed up of 'hard' Labour

Italian general election: Mr Big buys his way to power

Council workers back anti-cuts candidate

New Labour's 'ten year' plans


Home   |   The Socialist 18 May 2001   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Council workers:

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

triangleSurveying Labour councillors - will they fight cuts?

triangleBin workers vote to continue action following rally

triangleBron Afon workers strike against 3,000 pay cut

triangleBin workers stand firm


triangleLeicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy

triangleCampaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened

triangleSwansea Labour council votes for cuts

triangleDerby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter

Glenn Kelly:

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

triangleUnison conference: confident delegates take control, give Corbyn 'rapturous' welcome

triangleWhere next for the BMA junior doctors' dispute


triangleHackney Socialist Party: The Left Opposition's fight against the rise of Stalinism in Russia

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Refugee rights


triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise


triangleAfter the Unite elections - now turn outwards

Socialist Workers Party:

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Refugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics


Socialist Party

Socialist Party congress 2018



Strike continues: set dates for next national action


Socialist Party

Members dig deep into their pockets to support the party


North West

Campaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened



Swansea Labour council votes for cuts



Derby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter



Seeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!



Continuing the fighting tradition of working class women



Workplace news in brief



Leicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy



Leaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise



We feel that we will win - a striker speaks



Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign



UCU strike: bosses on the run

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: 0191 421 6230

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

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018