Socialist Worker

‘Don’t slash our Surestart,’ Medway parent protesters tell council

by Steve Wilkins
Issue No. 2564

Parents protesting in Medway to save Surestart childrens centres

Parents protesting in Medway to save Surestart children's centres (Pic: Steve Wilkins)

More than 60 parents, children and supporters marched on a meeting of Medway council last Thursday, to protest against its plan to close 19 Surestart children’s centres.

The centres are to be replaced with just four “hubs” across the three Medway towns. Most parents with young children will be unable to get to them.

And 60 children’s centre workers will lose their jobs.

The Tory council held a consultation that excluded any option to keep the centres open, and dismissed expert evidence that this will be harmful.

Angry parents met Tory councillors arriving for the meeting by ringing bells and crying out “shame”.

Many parents had submitted questions to the meeting. These were met with glib answers and stonewalling.

This resulted in a constant barrage of heckling from protesters.

When Tory councillors attempted to wreck a mild Labour Party motion on Surestart, Labour councillors and protesters walked out.

The campaign now plans to protest at meetings on 1 August and on 8 August.

What’s missing is industrial action by the children’s centre workers.

Up to 19 social workers at Medway Council are also under threat of redundancy, but their Unison union’s regional official quashed moves to hold even an indicative strike ballot.

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Tue 25 Jul 2017, 14:31 BST
Issue No. 2564
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