Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18157

Posted on 17 February 2014 at 17:28 GMT

Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign march, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014, photo Pete Fry

Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign march, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014, photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Marching to save children's centres in Canterbury

Dave Semple, East Kent Socialist Party

Kent socialists, trade unionists and parents from the Save Kent Children's Centres campaign staged a 70-strong march through the centre of Canterbury on Saturday 15th February in protest at the closure of 12 children's centres by the Tory county council.

Following two previous demonstrations and thousands of names on a petition, Kent county council retreated from its initial proposal of closing 23 children's centres. The protests of parents, underpinned and organised by socialists in the trade unions, forced a backtrack on 11 centres.

In the last week, however, up to 300 staff at the children's centres have been told that they will have to re-apply for their jobs, as opening hours of centres are reduced and the council seeks to strip out resources. These resources include fully qualified teachers at each centre.

Save Kent Children’s Centre campaign march, Canterbury on Saturday 15th February , photo Pete Fry

Save Kent Children’s Centre campaign march, Canterbury on Saturday 15th February , photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Rally speeches

Saturday's march culminated in a rally addressed by David Lloyd from the Unison branch responsible for the workers in these centres. He slammed Kent county council for ignoring its own procedures and failing to heed a parents' petition to refer the decisions on closures back to the full council. Parents and workers are under no illusion that the full council would decide differently, but it would give more space to build the campaign against all closures.

During the rally, local library campaigners from Strood and Whitstable spoke about the need to link up the campaigns. Support was voiced from every quarter of the room for a campaign against all cuts. Mike Sargent from the RMT executive and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) steering committee received hearty applause when he demanded election candidates who are accountable, unlike any of the main parties.

Unison plans

Though Unison is to debate holding an indicative ballot for strike action in the coming months, the Tories have now pushed through this year's budget. Managers have been bullying staff to keep them from taking leaflets when going to work, let alone getting involved in the campaign.

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page speaking at the rally, Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page speaking at the rally, Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014   (Click to enlarge)

The Unison branch committee, working with the NUT and ATL, who represent teachers working in the centres, have restricted themselves to lobbying. To win a ballot, they would have to lay out a detailed plan of action to defend the 600 jobs at risk over the next three years and link up with other unions county wide.

Members of the Socialist Party have been pushing exactly this option - and it would be rendered even more powerful by coupling it to running election candidates who will vote against all cuts. Virtually everyone who addressed the rally - far beyond the Socialist Party members or known TUSC supporters present - said something similar about backing anti-cuts candidates.

Although there were a few Labour Party activists and a smattering of Greens present, it was clear that neither the Greens nor Labour had mobilised their members. In Canterbury alone, Labour has 400 members. A Green candidate was heard boasting that the Greens have several hundred also. The most either could muster was to describe the emailing of Sure Start redundancies as "insensitive".

TUSC had by far the most visible presence on the demonstration and it was clear from the rally that it correctly articulated the demands of the local activists. The mood is there for a political alternative to austerity, even in the heartlands of Tory Britain. It is our responsibility to consistently provide the answers for which they are searching, and to build their confidence in TUSC.

Saturday's demonstration in Canterbury was a strong step in this direction.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 February 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Canterbury:

triangleCanterbury pride

triangleCanterbury Socialist Party attends 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleEast Kent Socialist Party: Britain & Europe after the referendum

Children:

triangleA socialist programme for schools

triangleTory full return to school plans gamble with lives

triangleFight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care

triangleOver 30% of children living in poverty

Council:

triangleEngage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleLuton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

TUSC:

triangleTime to relaunch TUSC

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Cuts:

triangleUnite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

Labour:

triangleLabour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/8/20

NHS

'First you clap us then you slap us'

5/8/20

Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism

5/8/20

Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest

5/8/20

Hull

Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person

5/8/20

Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!

5/8/20

Caerphilly

GE Aviation workers march to save jobs

5/8/20

Trotsky

80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally

5/8/20

BAME

Fighting to end racism and capitalism

5/8/20

Doncaster

Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women

5/8/20

The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule

5/8/20

Unite

Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

5/8/20

BT

Oppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999