Socialist Worker

Nottingham: the first council to strike against Tory cuts

by Martin Sleath, joint branch secretary, Nottinghamshire Unison (pc)
Issue No. 2240

Some 3,700 workers at Nottinghamshire county council were set to strike on Thursday of this week—the day the Tory council votes on its savage cuts budget.

The council, led by a hardline Thatcherite named Kay Cutts, plans 1,000 compulsory redundancies in the next few weeks alone.

All non-schools Unison union members were balloted. Workers voted 62 percent in favour of strikes—and will be backed by the vast majority of Unison members.

Proposals to the full council meeting include £89 million of cuts to jobs and services.

But this is only the start of a programme of £180 million cuts that will lead to huge job losses.

The council aims to be a “commissioner” rather than a direct provider of services. This is code for mass privatisation.

The GMB, the smaller council union, is in the process of conducting an indicative ballot for strikes.

Kay Cutts has provocatively written a letter published on the council’s internal network calling the planned strike a “faux” (fake) one, based on rhetoric rather than reality.

This has thrown down the gauntlet and hardened the mood of workers, who are determined to make her eat her words.

There will be pickets at all the major workplaces from 6.30am. Then there will be a march to County Hall for a rally, assembling at 10am on Victoria Embankment, Nottingham.

Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield, alongside other trade unionists, service users and campaigning groups, will address the rally.

After Thursday’s strike, mass meetings are planned to decide on future action. The ballot gives authority for ongoing strikes.

Barnet votes to strike

Some 150 Barnet council workers have voted to strike against the Tory council’s privatisation plans, dubbed “easyCouncil”.

The workers voted 77 percent for strikes on a majority turnout. The ballot included key staff across many departments of the council.

Council pay freeze – again

All council workers will have their pay frozen for another year, the government announced last week.

The pay freeze will hit 1.4 million workers. With inflation running at more than 5 percent, and higher on food and fuel, it really means a steep pay cut.

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Article information

Tue 22 Feb 2011, 17:52 GMT
Issue No. 2240
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