Workers at Tory-run Bromley Council in south London are resisting a vicious programme of cuts and privatisation that could cut the council workforce from 4,000 to 300.
Unite union members in the council’s parks team walked out on Tuesday of last week. On Thursday they joined all Unite members at the council, except schools staff, for a further 24-hour strike.
Staff in passenger services and care workers were set for a seven-day strike from Wednesday of this week, ending with another council-wide strike next Tuesday.
Bromley Unite chair Adam Jenkins told Socialist Worker, “This is an ideological crusade by Bromley Council.”
Adam works as a park ranger but his job is under threat from the cuts. He said, “We are being transferred over to a private firm on 1 June but we still haven’t been given a job description.”
The Tories are subsidising getting rid of experienced staff, which will drive down pay and conditions.The Landscape Group is set to run the parks but bosses there already plan ten redundancies and Bromley Council has agreed to pay redundancy for transferred council staff.
Adam said, “Councils should be run for residents not profit. Parks aren’t part of statutory council provision. But kids living in a tower block need to be able to go out and kick a football.”
A striking care worker from Astley day centre explained why they are walking out. “We work with people with learning disabilities who have no voice. As their support workers we are striking to protect their interests. There is no place for profit in care.”
Unite branch secretary Kathy Smith addressed the strike rally on Thursday of last week. She said, “We’re stronger when we’re not this service here and that service there, but all together.”
Despite the disappointment of another Tory government the Bromley strike gives us all a chance to give the Tories an early bloody nose. It deserves widespread support.