resist cuts to jobs, services and benefits

A bulletin distributed outside Sheffield Council buildings this morning

Cameron, Osborne and their chum Clegg have declared war on working class people. They are attacking welfare and public sector jobs: 490,000 public jobs will go. The £81 billion cuts are not a neutral economic necessity.   They have been denounced by many leading economists as they risk slowing growth, reducing government income, and therefore making the debt even harder to pay off.  The real agenda?  Thatcher’s old tune: less for the working class, more for the powerful.

the cuts coalition

It is a lie to say that we are standing on the brink of economic ruin or that the money has run out. It is spin to claim that we are ‘all in this together’. Continue reading “resist cuts to jobs, services and benefits”

fire brigade: will london burn?

The inside story of what is really happening in the London Fire Brigade, as told to The Commune.

16th September 2010 and the London left descend on the London Fire Brigade Headquarters to join the mass lobby of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) monthly meeting called by Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Unison LFEPA Branch.

the FBU are perceived as militant, but we need to break down the division between 'frontline' and 'support' staff

The headlines of the ’left’ press only tell part of the story: ‘FBU up the ante in contract dispute’ (Morning Star 17th September), ‘London Firefighters ready to strike against dismissal threat’ (Newsline 18th September), ‘Brutal bosses? Time to fight back!’ (The Socialist 23rd-29th September) and ‘The ballot is on to save fire jobs’ (Socialist Worker 25th September). Continue reading “fire brigade: will london burn?”

unison stirred by goverment cuts onslaught

by Matt Mansfield

The national leadership of Unison held an anti-cuts Conference in a hotel in central Glasgow on 4th September, which was billed as one of a number of similar events in different areas of the country. In many ways this event shows the fear of having large sections of its organisation smashed that haunts the Unison leadership: this fear is driving the union to seek out allies in the fight against the cuts.

The first thing of note was the publicity: it was circulated on left email lists and I thought it was a basic event held by Glasgow City Unison branch, which is effectively run by the Socialist Party in these parts. However, as far as I know it did not appear on the boards/network for Glasgow City Unison members, nor was there anything through my own Unison branch although this tends to be pretty insular in nature. Continue reading “unison stirred by goverment cuts onslaught”

is unison ready to fight the cuts?

A UNISON branch official looks at the attacks on the left within the union at a time when public sector workers face major cuts

This summer Dave Prentis won his bid to become General Secretary of UNISON for the third time with 67.2% of the vote (based on a very poor 14% turn out). As a speaker at conference Dave Prentis often talks left.

However, despite his fine words, he has been at the helm during a period when the left have suffered serious attacks from the leadership. Several very well known and respected left wingers in UNISON have faced harassment and even expulsion on trumped up and unfounded charges. Some of these instances are well known amongst the wider labour movement. Continue reading “is unison ready to fight the cuts?”

UCL: reinstate juan carlos, pay the living wage!

On Friday 26th March campus staff, students and activists demonstrated at University College London in solidarity with the cleaners there. The protest demanded a living wage (£7.60 an hour) for the cleaners, and the reinstatement of Juan Carlos Piedra, sacked by cowboy contractor Office and General on account of his trade union organising.

In a lively demonstration, after leafleting in the UCL Quad we made repeated – and ultimately successful – efforts to enter the building in spite of the security guards. We then chanted at delegates at an international academic conference on migration, demanding that the university support migrant workers’ rights rather than just pontificate about migration. Continue reading “UCL: reinstate juan carlos, pay the living wage!”

public sector unions face turbulent times

by David Huckerby

According to research by the Independent newspaper, 20,000 council workers throughout England, Scotland and Wales face redundancy as forward planning for drastic government cuts take effect. Whatever the outcome of the general election the public sector will face austerity job cuts, cuts in services and attacks on terms and conditions.

Sheffield Council is one of local authorities identified where jobs are threatened. The director of Sheffield Homes, the council’s housing service has raised the spectre of at least forty job cuts in the financial year 2010/11 with more to follow. Over two hundred jobs have been lost in housing in the last few years. A recruitment freeze has been in place for some time. The council is the largest employer in the city so local unemployment is rising. Continue reading “public sector unions face turbulent times”

strike victory in north devon nhs

by Mark Harper

The strike conducted at North Devon District Hospital on  5th-6th January has resulted in a victory for the UNISON members there.

Amid plans for further strike action, the North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and private contractor, Sodexo eventually gave in to our demands for NHS terms and conditions for the outsourced porters, cleaners and catering staff. This has resulted in 7 days extra annual leave, sick pay, NHS pay levels with increments, increased Maternity pay and back pay worth up to £3,600 for each member of staff. Though most staff will only move to band 1 of the pay structure which is still too low, the improvement is a significant step forward. Continue reading “strike victory in north devon nhs”