Socialist Worker

Glasgow parents warn of civil disobedience at cuts

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2460

Parents and children blocked a road in Glasgow last week in protest at cuts

Parents and children blocked a road in Glasgow last week in protest at cuts (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Parents and council workers are up in arms over Glasgow City Council’s latest cuts plan. 

The Labour-run council wants to slash £103 million by 2018—on top of millions already cut—and impose 3,000 job losses.

Councillors plan to “save” £600,000 by increasing the qualifying distance for giving free bus travel for primary and secondary school children in the city. 

This would snatch free travel from over 1,800 children and hit the poorest the hardest.

Angry at another broken promise from Labour, some 100 parents and children stormed the city chambers and blocked roads outside on Thursday of last week. 

“They don’t represent us,” Peter Byrne, who lives in Glasgow’s Maryhill area, told Socialist Worker. 

“There isn’t a primary school left in Maryhill—they shut them down six years ago. 

“We were told there would be indefinite free bus travel for children to travel to school.”

Parents are worried about the lack of safe walking routes to schools and the cost to people in some of the most deprived areas of Britain.

Peter said, “You can’t expect young children to go on the bus on their own. So it’s not just the £1.20 return journey, it’s another £4 for the adult. 

“When you start adding that up it’s a lot of money.”

He said the campaign in his area, where parents fought the closures in 2009 and occupied schools, was making links with groups across the city. “We hope we can encourage people to stand up for themselves,” he said.

Crisis

Glasgow council is in crisis. Council Labour leader and Scottish Labour deputy leader hopeful Gordon Matheson faced calls for his resignation at a council Labour group meeting last week.

He said he would step down early next year.

Labour could lose control of the authority it has held for 35 years at the 2017 council elections. 

The party is toxic for many because of its betrayals of working class people and its alliance with the Tories in the independence referendum.

That referendum created a sense that it’s possible to fight back. 

Arguments for a different kind of society created a social movement that hasn’t gone away—and flares up in unexpected ways.

Peter warned council leaders, “If the buses aren’t reinstated, on the first day of the new school term there could be civil disobedience.”

Like the striking homelessness caseworkers, the Save Our School Buses campaigners are showing how to resist. 

Waiting for the next election is not an option.

Save Our School Buses march, assemble 1pm, Thursday 2 July, Maryhill Hub, 186 Wyndford Road, Glasgow, G20 8HF

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