Socialist Worker

NHS, education, services, jobs...‘We’re fighting to stop the cuts now’

Issue No. 2187

POLITICANS ARE squabbling over just how quickly public spending cuts should be rammed through after the general election. They argue about whether they should be merely devastating or totally catastrophic.

Whoever wins the election will unleash an avalanche of cuts in order to pay the bill for the bankers’ and bosses’ bailout.

But the cuts have already started—and so has the resistance.

Hospitals across Britain are still feeling the effects of past cuts, before the latest round bites. But unions and communities are resisting the assault.

Karen Wilson is from North London where hundreds of people are involved in the Save Whittington Hospital campaign. “The threat to our hospital is coming now, we can’t wait until after the election to fight,” she said. “And if the Tories get in might be even harder to win.”

It’s the same story in education. The government slashed more than £600 million from college budgets this week.

This means that a third of people who want to be students could be denied a place on a degree course this autumn.

There are similar cuts in further and adult education.

But students and lecturers from Brighton to London, Leeds to Glasgow, are fighting back.

And as workers face new attacks on pay and jobs, 270,000 civil service workers started a national strike ballot this week.

The government was set to push regulations through parliament this week which will cut redundancy payments to low paid public sector workers.

PCS union member Alison Hill told Socialist Worker, “Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher introduced this redundancy scheme but the Labour government is now saying it is too generous and wants to rob us.

“It will clear the way for privatisation and mass job losses. It is crucial that we are fighting the cuts now.”

The stronger the fightback now, the more it will prepare for the resistance needed after the election. We need to pressure the union leaders to fight for their members rather than defending the government. We need to move now to organise the fight back in every community and workplace.

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Tue 2 Feb 2010, 19:19 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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