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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 January 2001

Strike Shuts Down Hackney

OVER 5,000 Hackney council workers walked out on a 24-hour strike on 20 December. At least 23 schools closed down due to action from UNISON and GMB union members.

All building works and street cleaning stopped as did Social Services offices, administration and benefit offices. The Mayor's chauffeur and mace-carrier were on strike for the evening's council meeting!

In a lively rally outside Hackney Town Hall BRIAN DEBUS, Hackney UNISON branch chair and Socialist Party member, said that council managing director Max Caller wanted council workers to take a salary cut but he hadn't offered to cut his own 150,000 a year salary.

Brian said the workers' strike had to be linked in with a struggle by the local community to defend services. This wasn't the end of the council workers' struggle just the beginning.

The NUT rep from Haggerston school said there had been 62 on a picket line at that school and no-one had crossed it. She said that Nord Anglia, a company that had been found guilty of racist employment practises, was making 1.2 million from mis-running Hackney's schools.

JUDE RITCHIE, UNISON steward at De Beauvoir school, warned that Hackney council planned to increase council tax by at least 84 a year - a 10% rise. Interest repayments accounted for 420 for every household in Hackney out of their council tax.

Jude asked the rally: "Are we prepared to go out on strike again in January?" He received a resounding "Yes".

CHRIS NEWBY, a Hackney tenant and Socialist Party member said that not one councillor had signed a letter sent out by Hackney UNISON opposing cuts and redundancies.

Chris said: "The whole shabby bunch of councillors should be driven out and replaced by community candidates." This could be done by a strong united campaign of workers and community.

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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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 5 January 2001:

Who's Pulling Labour's Strings?

Special Appeal - Fund our campaign

Nationalise the Railways

Strike Shuts Down Hackney

School students join the protest

Hackney Workers can win

Vauxhall Luton - Angry workers ready for Action


Socialist Party campaigns

Socialist Alliances: another step in the wrong direction


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

2001 - a year of Workers' reawakening


International socialist news and analysis

Greek general strike against bosses' attacks


 

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Related links:

Hackney:

triangleDetermined strikers at Leaways school

triangleHackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!

triangleHackney council parking services brought in-house

Strike:

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triangleBritish Gas strike continues

trianglePlymouth rent strike continues

triangleBritish Gas workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

Council:

triangleRyan Aldred: Why I'm standing for Usdaw's EC

triangleNottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

Unison:

triangleUnison get sec election shows left can win NEC

triangle

Unison general secretary ballot closes

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