THE STAND Up For Council Housing campaign got under way with meetings, protests and activities in many areas last Saturday. The campaign is taking place as the government and many councils are pressing ahead with plans to privatise council homes.
Tenants' groups, the Defend Council Housing campaign, and trade unions including UNISON, UCATT and the GMB are backing a Stand Up For Council Housing manifesto. It opposes privatisation and calls for public investment in council homes. Birmingham is facing one of the biggest battles, with the Labour council planning a tenants' ballot in an effort to push through the privatisation of tens of thousands of homes.
On Saturday campaigners delivered some 20,000 anti-privatisation leaflets to homes across the city, toured in a battlebus, and held a 100-strong town centre meeting.
In Bradford on Saturday campaigners distributed leaflets against the council's privatisation plans. In nearby Keighley campaigners also ran a stall on Saturday. Stalls were set up in Huddersfield and Dewsbury leafleting against Kirklees council's privatisation scheme.
On north Manchester's Langley estate campaigners wallpapered anti-privatisation material over the outside of a show house. Liverpool also saw campaigners out in a battlebus, while on Camden's Maiden Vale estate leaflets were delivered door to door. Areas across London saw anti-privatisation stalls on Saturday, from Southwark to Tower Hamlets.
In Southall campaigners toured local estates with a loudspeaker car, with speakers in Punjabi and Somali as well as English. In north London's Islington a fun day was held on the Ringmer estate to oppose a privatisation plan.
Leeds tenants and trade unionists began leafleting the Little London estate to oppose a privatisation plan. In Walsall tenants and trade unionists ran a lively stall on Saturday, and a city-wide ballot on a privatisation plan got under way on Monday. Nottingham and Caerphilly also saw campaigners on the streets.
For copies of the manifesto and leaflets, or more information, phone Defend Council Housing on 020 7275 9994 or go to www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk
NEW LABOUR last week confirmed it is trying to blackmail council tenants. The Scottish Executive said that the Westminster government will write off councils' massive housing debts-but only if tenants vote for their homes to be transferred out of council control. The announcement in Scotland was aimed at influencing the ballot planned in November across Glasgow on privatisation.
For affordable housing
PUBLIC SECTOR workers demonstrated outside plush Thames apartments last week to draw attention to the shortage of affordable housing in London. Firefighters, nurses, teachers, postal workers, paramedics and train drivers were all represented outside the apartments-which start at £350,000 each
UNISON housing seminar
AROUND 150 UNISON union delegates from all over Britain gathered in Glasgow for a one-day seminar on housing last week. Union officials underlined UNISON's opposition to housing stock transfers to the private sector.
Jane Carolan from the national executive announced that UNISON members in Glasgow would be balloted for industrial action. This is in response to the council's plan to force housing workers to do compulsory overtime to push out pro sell off propaganda.