Socialist Worker

London council workers coordinate strikes to stop service privatisation

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2462

Budget day strikers in Barnet wear George Osborne masks

Budget day strikers in Barnet wear George Osborne masks (Pic: Socialist Worker )


Strikes against Tory privatisation at two London councils grew in strength as council workers walked out on Wednesday of last week. 

They chose to co­ordinate their action with the day the Tories announced an emergency budget.

Unison union members at Barnet Council had over 100 strikers out on picket lines at key workplaces in the north London borough. 

The strike was part of a long battle against Tory council bosses’ plans to outsource services and 80 percent of jobs. 

More children’s centres were closed and more schools catering staff were out than in previous strikes. 

Over half the lorries at the council’s refuse depot didn’t move. This is a major development considering most workers at the depot were not involved last time round.

Council leaders plan another wave of mass outsourcing of services and staff.

Unison branch chair Helen Davies spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. She said, “Council leaders should get the message that we don’t want privatisation.”

March

Helen said there will be more action. “We will be going all-out to build a local march in September over the selloff and closure of libraries. 

“We’re following that up with more strikes and will look to coordinate again with other workers.”

Bromley Council workers in south London were also out on strike on budget day over similar plans to the Tories in Barnet. They’re also fighting  an attack on the council trade unions’ facility time. 

The Unite union has already led prolonged action among its members at the council but this time they were joined by colleagues in Unison.

One Bromley Council worker told Socialist Worker, “We are defending hard-won rights. There is a real danger that embezzling our taxes and sticking them into private shareholders’ pockets is not fought.

“People think what we have can’t be changed but it could all disappear fast. 

“I don’t want future generations asking what the public sector was—it’s that serious.”


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