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Lobbies warn councils of workers' action
AT A mass lobby of Bristol councillors on 7 September, several council trade unions warned of impending industrial action should the Lib-Dem council try to carry through compulsory redundancies.
A petition from the local Unison branch highlighted the position apparently taken by councillors in Blackburn who say they will not implement cuts which could lead to financial destruction of their city. The Unison spokesperson was applauded when he demanded that Bristol's elected representatives make a similar declaration.
This echoes the defiant note initially promised by many Labour local authorities in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher tried to take the axe to public spending. Then, only Liverpool council, courageously led by supporters of the Socialist Party's predecessor, Militant, transformed words into deeds to become 'the city that dared to fight'.
National Union of Teachers (NUT) senior vice-president, Nina Franklin, warned that teacher redundancies would be likely to lead to industrial action in Bristol schools.
The GMB union attacked a 50% cutback in the city's 'rat catcher' provision. Previously Bristol's rat population had been reduced though curiously, the speaker said, there appears at present to be an explosion of rats in the council chamber, a fact enthusiastically endorsed by anti-cuts protesters!
As this phoney war comes to an end, the battle lines, here and everywhere else, are being drawn up for a life or death struggle to protect public services.
ON 1 September, hundreds protested at Labour-led Bolton council's plans to cut 40% off its budget at an estimated cost of 1,400 jobs, not to mention the effects on services.
Kieran Grogan, Bolton Metro Unison young member officer (personal capacity)
Bolton's Trades Union Council brought together community groups and members of the public under the banner 'coalition against cuts'. Each councillor attending the council meeting was being paid £936 to attend and pass off 40% worth of cuts to frontline services. They were greeted with well deserved boos.
Socialist Party members replied to their claims of 'no alternative' with: "What about Liverpool between 1983 and 1987? Do what the socialist council did there!" The councillors of Bolton decided first of all to congratulate each other on the A level and GCSE results. Well done, guys! Now where do we send them? Oh that's right, there aren't enough college and university places due to more cuts!
This well-attended and well-planned demo must be a starting point in fighting these savage cutbacks.
In The Socialist 15 September 2010:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party youth and students
Feature: Socialist Party women
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review