Socialist Worker

Fighting the council cuts

Issue No. 2190

Workers in Birmingham were set to protest against up to 2,000 job cuts as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

The Tory/Lib Dem council is making massive cuts to social and care workers, librarians and other council workers.

Birmingham Unison union assistant branch secretary Caroline Johnson said, “Over the next ten years the council are projecting another 5,000 job losses.

“They’re not being clear about it because they’re waiting until after the election.

“But they’re talking about closing all the community day nurseries, and possibly libraries and leisure centres as well.

“People are starting to understand that council workers don’t just sit behind desks—they do things people really need. We hope workers and the public can come together on this protest.”

An audit last month showed that the budget deficit was caused by council bosses who can’t add up.

The council overestimated its assets by £1 billion—and underestimated its costs by £430 million.

It even double-paid £281,000 of invoices after a computer foul-up.

“But it’s not the consultants and bosses who get cut,” says Caroline. “It’s the nurseries and the libraries.”

Local campaigner Bridget has been leafleting for the protest. She said, “We’ve been around local workplaces—the children’s centres, libraries, neighbourhood centres.

“These are fantastic facilities that they’re planning to close. They want to shut down a brand new children’s centre. Where’s the sense in that?

“We had a really good reception and lots of people took leaflets to put out. Most people already knew about the protest and were keen to come.

“There’s outrage and anger but people aren’t sure yet if they can fight these cuts and win. Hopefully the protest can start to bring that together.”

Protest over council cuts in Mansfield

Up to 200 angry protesters gathered in Mansfield last Saturday over council plans to cut 1,500 jobs.

Nottinghamshire council announced 1,000 job cuts last week, which comes on top of 500 already set for the chop.

There was a good turnout from trade unionists and residents of an elderly persons care home threatened with privatisation.

Labour party members campaigning in local by-elections also came.

An even bigger demonstration is being organised for Thursday of this week outside County Hall before the council meeting that will vote on the cuts. Coaches are bringing protesters from across the county.

Trades council secretary Richard Buckwell said, “This should be the start of building joint action to fight many more cuts that are on the cards across the public sector.”

Cambridge against £55 million cuts

Campaigners protested last Tuesday at Cambridgeshire County Council’s plans to make cuts of £55 million over the next five years.

The Cambridge district trades council said the county’s infrastructure was at “breaking point.”

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Tue 23 Feb 2010, 19:25 GMT
Issue No. 2190
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