Socialist Worker

Fighting the council cuts now

Issue No. 2186


Glasgow

Over 100 trade unionists and activists came to a meeting on Saturday of last week to support Glasgow City Unison’s “Defend Glasgow Services” campaign.

The Labour-controlled council is closing community centres, learning disability day centres and Sighthill library.

Over 600 jobs will be lost including welfare rights and community worker posts.

Speakers from both the platform and floor stressed the need for a united fightback.

Janice Godrich, president of the PCS union, reminded the meeting that this was the 20th anniversary of the anti-poll tax campaign launch. She said a similar movement was needed today to stop the cuts.

Tom Morrison from West Dumbartonshire Unison union evoked the spirit of the 1972 Upper Clyde Shipyards sit-in.

And Mike Kirby, Unison’s Scottish convenor and local branch chair, said the Scottish TUC is organising a major cuts conference in early Spring.

Margaret Wood of Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said council funding and community workers’ support were vital to ten threatened local networks which brought communities together.

She argued they provided a focus for local anti-racist activities. This was especially important as the British National Party got over 1,000 votes in the Glasgow Springburn by-election last year.

The meeting elected a steering commitee and agreed to lobby the council meeting this week.


Derby

Derby council workers are to vote on strikes over travel allowances.

The workers, in the Unison union, are fighting the loss of a £98.25 a month allowance paid to almost 900 people who need cars for work.

Councillors argued that the cuts were needed to save £800,000. They were jeered at a public meeting.


Swindon

Swindon council Unison is holding a consultative ballot for strikes over pay.

Around 1,000 of the 6,000 workers face pay cuts as part of a “single status” regrading.

It will see many workers lose allowances that make up a large portion of their pay.

Unison regional organiser Chris Howe said the council would “rue the day” they picked a fight with the union.


Knowsley

Knowsley council workers are set to strike against contract changes.

Their Unison union fears the new contracts are there to make it easier to sack staff.

They would see notice periods cut from eight months down to three.

At the moment workers have a five-month period while the council tries to redeploy them.

But under the new scheme that five months will go.


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Tue 26 Jan 2010, 19:23 GMT
Issue No. 2186
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