Socialist Worker

London council workers resist Tory privatisation of services

by Mark Dunk
Issue No. 2449

On the picket line in Bromley last week

On the picket line in Bromley last week (Pic: Mark Dunk)

Workers at Bromley Council, in south London, held two days of strikes last week to stop the wholesale privatisation of services. 

This comes after two Ukip councillors lined up with the Tory majority to vote through a cuts budget and the withdrawal of facility time from union reps.

The Unite union members held picket lines at key council workplaces. A number of Unison union members refused to cross and joined them despite not being officially balloted for action. 

Supporters from Disabled People Against Cuts, Bromley trades council, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, the Greens and Labour also joined the picket.

Tory councillors and the council’s chief executive officer faced jeers and chants of “they say cut back, we say fight back”, as they passed a rally on the second day.

Unite branch secretary Kathy Smith told the rally, “This is not a fight we can ignore. This would be the end of democratic service provision. It is a fight for us all—other councils are watching what happens here.”

Unite regional official Onay Kasab stated the union’s intention to escalate action. He described the situation as “a fight to the death” adding, “If the Tories get away with their attacks it will be the end of council services in Bromley.”

Unison members are set to ballot to join further action and a march through Bromley is planned.

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Barnet staff vote to strike

Workers in the Unison union at Tory-run Barnet Council, north London, have voted by 87 percent to strike against further outsourcing of services.

The council decided to outsource the majority of its remaining directly employed workers at a meeting last month.

Barnet Unison secretary John Burgess said workers had “had enough” of the Tories’ “ideological obsession with outsourcing”.

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Article information

Tue 14 Apr 2015, 16:52 BST
Issue No. 2449
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