Socialist Worker

Privateers barrack residents

Issue No. 1939

COUNCIL TENANTS are standing up to bullying and blackmail in Lambeth, south London, and fighting back against proposals to privatise their housing.

The council wants to sell off an estate of 1,400 homes and demolish half of them to build yuppie flats.

The privatisation proposals are being led by the Clapham Park Project, a “New Deal for Communities” quango set up on the estate.

It is spending millions of pounds of public money on glossy propaganda (including 42-metre high banners) to get tenants to support the privatisation scheme.

Some local tenants, who met each other through the Stop the War Coalition, have formed a campaign group. They organised a 50-strong meeting last week so tenants could hear about the risks of privatisation.

Board members from the Clapham Park Project made a serious and concerted attempt to disrupt the meeting and prevent people from hearing the arguments against their scheme.

They jeered at the speakers, who included a representative of Defend Council Housing and a local tenant. Elderly residents were rudely shouted down. People who had come to hear the arguments were horrified at such intimidation. The result is even more outrage at the proposed scheme.

Threat of pay cuts

COUNCIL WORKERS in Coventry are getting ready to strike after the council voted through plans to impose “single status”.

The scheme will mean large numbers of workers will lose out as working hours are harmonised across all sections.

The council has been forced into trying to impose the scheme after union ballots last year showed a majority of council workers were against it, including 75 percent of Unison union members.

Following wildcat action last year, refuse collectors walked out again recently over plans to cut their pay by £4,500 a year.

Altogether 1,567 workers will lose up to £8,000 a year each.

I work at a special school, where we are set to lose our special needs allowance.

Even though a number of people will gain through single status, there is no excuse for cutting the pay of people in vital services, especially after council bosses awarded themselves inflation-busting pay rises last year.

The number of department heads getting over £50,000 a year has gone up from 62 to 72.

Coventry is the largest authority so far to attempt to impose single status, and will not be the last.
Joe Varney

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Article information

Sat 19 Feb 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1939
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