Socialist Worker

Strikes over cuts and selloffs show how council workers can fight back

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2457

Barnet strikers

Barnet strikers (Pic: Terry McGrath)

Striking council workers have called for solidarity and coordinated resistance to the Tories’ plan to further slash public spending.

Cuts already mean 420,000 fewer people don’t receive the social care services they would have had four years ago. 

And social care budgets this year have been slashed by £1.1 billion, with more to come. 

Unison union rep Stuart, a homelessness caseworker in Glasgow on all-out strike, spoke to Socialist Worker.

“Our strike shows that we don’t have to accept austerity,” he said. 

“The solidarity we have received tells us other workers want to do the same. Our services can’t take any more. Now is the time to fight together.”

The pressure of increasing workloads, savage cuts and privatisation is being felt across Britain.

In north London, Tory-run Barnet Council has privatised as much as it can for much of the past decade. The Tory council in Bromley, south London, is running to catch up with Barnet. 


But workers are fighting back. Unite union members at Bromley Council were set to begin a new wave of strikes this week. 

Adult services, transport and library workers were preparing to walk out between 10-20 June, with a council-wide strike on 16 June.

Combating cuts and privatisation will dominate discussions at the Unison union’s local government conference set to begin this Sunday in Glasgow. 

The gains made by the left in Unison’s national executive elections show the mood for a fighting union among members.

Barnet Unison chair Helen Davies told Socialist Worker, “We look forward to the call going out from our national leadership encouraging more branches to get on board and join the fight.  

“Austerity budgets underpin the conditions for so many disputes. 

“It makes sense that, where disputes are still live on 8 July, all those should be out on strike together and demonstrate.” 

If you cannot be on strike, organise a workplace meeting or other activity and Facebook or tweet your solidarity to those who are. As Helen said, “Join us—what have you got to lose?”

Workers spoke in a personal capacity


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.