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From: The Socialist issue 621, 21 April 2010: Stop these savage cuts: support the socialist alternative

Search site for keywords: Council - Coventry - Unions - Rob Windsor - Council workers - Dave Nellist - Cuts

Fighting cuts at Coventry council

Workers in street cleansing and grounds maintenance at Coventry City council have voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action.

Union members are angry about the imposition of changes through a 'Fundamental Service Review' that will see people worse off in pay and shift arrangements.

The new merged service is the brainchild of new chief executive Martin 'Slasher' Reeves, and forms part of the cuts agenda that will see 72 million of 'savings' over the next three years.

This is the same Reeves who recently criticised Coventry people for lacking 'ambition'. Easy to say when you are on 175,000 per year, when many council workers are on around 15,000!

This review has already been lodged as an official dispute by the union but the council panel, unsurprisingly, found in favour of the employers.

Rob Windsor, Socialist Party councillor for St Michael's said: "We fully support the street cleaners and grounds maintenance workers... Myself and Dave Nellist were the only councillors to vote against the cuts of 72 million and will continue to do all we can to organise and support any campaign against attacks on the council workforce."

The three main council unions, Unison, Unite and GMB, along with other unions such as the teachers' union, the NUT, need to organise across the council in defence of our members. Meetings should be held to build up networks of stewards and new activists.

Regionally and nationally we need a coordinated campaign, linking up with other public service unions to prepare for action to demand proper funding of our services and to stop the attacks on our public sector.

A Unison steward

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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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