sheffield Labour Council targets workers and the vulnerable

Barry Biddulph reports on the 550 council jobs to be axed in Sheffield.

Anti-cuts demonstration in Sheffield

Julie Dore, the leader of Sheffield Council, will make council workers and some of the most vulnerable people, who depend on council services, pay for the financial crisis. While Julie Dore sneers in public at protesters with placards, she tells Sheffield Star readers and trade union meetings that she has protected the most vulnerable. This is a dishonest attempt to justify choosing to make cuts, rather than organise to fight the government. The image of the dented shield only makes sense if you have taken part in a battle, not surrendered before the fight has begun.

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the cuts: not just defending the ‘welfare state’

The Sheffield Commune is holding a public meeting on the afternoon of the 30th November public sector strike.

We will be discussing the capitalist state, the cuts and the communist alternative vision for how workers and service users can run public services.

The welfare state: 'ours'?

From 3:30pm on Wednesday 30th November (after the rally/demo) at the Rutland Arms, Brown Street, near the Showroom Cinema. All welcome, plenty of time for debate. Continue reading “the cuts: not just defending the ‘welfare state’”

sheffield anti-cuts: a fairer capitalism?

Barry Biddulph found the Sheffield anti-cuts alliance heavier on top-table speakers than real politics or organisation

The second public meeting of the campaign against the cuts in Sheffield was was far smaller and less representative than the first founding meeting last year, despite the recent demos and strike votes. Less than one hundred people sat in a University lecture room with seats for five hundred, to listen to seven speakers. It was a trade union rally, not a meeting for activists to discuss the socialist alternative to the crisis of capitalism and how to organise to make the transition to  a real movement.

The character of the speeches was very defensive. It was all about keeping what we had. Defending our welfare state against the Nasty Tories as if the Labour Party was not making cuts in Manchester and elsewhere. There was no criticism of the Labour Party or those union leaders reluctant to fight the cuts. The political implication of the speeches was the Labour Party could somehow represent the fight back or to register that there was a trade union fightback. There was no analysis of the economic crisis and no speaker including a Permanent Revolution supporter, mentioned the S word. John McDonnell MP came closest with his call for a new society.   Continue reading “sheffield anti-cuts: a fairer capitalism?”

over a thousand job losses proposed by sheffield lib dem council

David Huckerby reports on job cuts and resistance in Sheffield.

Nick Clegg and local Lib Dem council leader Paul Scivan have claimed that there will be 250 job Losses for 2011/12 at Sheffield city council. However, this does not include the 600 current job vacancies which will not be filled, and another 320 vacancies caused by voluntary redundancies. Nor does the official figure include job losses from the knock-on effect cuts in services will have council contractors. Local unemployment is rising sharply.

A large proportion of the cuts fall unfairly on services to young people, children and families. This is in complete disregard for equality issues or legislation. They are considered to be an easy target for cuts. Connexions will face £2.4 million cuts in 2011/12. The axe will also fall on leisure and culture services. It is proposed that there will be £2.9 million of staff cuts in this service area. Altogether there will be a 15% reduction in council spending in the first year.

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sheffield anti cuts alliance – steering committee meeting, 14/12/10

Barry Biddulph was at the first steering committee meeting of the Sheffield anti-cuts group.

Fifty members of the Sheffield anti cuts campaign gathered in the Sheffield Trades and Labour Club to discuss the way forward for the campaign with their steering committee. One member raised the question of whether the anti cuts organisation was called a campaign or an alliance. A question which illustrated two tendencies in the organisation: Those members who want a grass roots socialist/communism from below approach for an independent militant campaign and the platform of temporary officials – Marion Lloyd of PCS and the Socialist Party, Ben Morris of SWP and NUT and chair Martin Mayer of Unite who were for a top down, large trade union-led alliance of delegates accountable to trade union officials. Essentially, despite differences in their individual positions, they all stand for a radical trades council structure. Continue reading “sheffield anti cuts alliance – steering committee meeting, 14/12/10”

A Report from the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign.

Barry Biddulph attended the public launch meeting of the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign.

I attended the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign public launch meeting on, Wednesday 24th November, at the Novotel Hotel. The Campaign has the support of PCS, UNISON, GMB. CWU, NUT, and NUJ trade unions. However, only about 250 people and eventually about 300 were present out of the huge public sector workforce in Sheffield, showing the weakness of the trade union left and the lack of mass support, particularly for the SWP, and the Socialist Party. Although the two groups’ members were prominent in the meeting and among the speakers. The speakers were Marion Lloyd, Socialist Party, speaking for the civil service union, Ben Morris speaking for the SWP’s Right To Work Campaign and Bill Greenshields, of the Communist Party of Britain, speaking for Peoples Charter. Attendance would have been far less had a number of young students, fresh from the demonstrations, not been present.  Here is my view of the meeting and some notes of the main points made by the speakers, to give a flavour of the politics of the platform. Continue reading “A Report from the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign.”