Health, education, housing, benefits, local councils, ...
Benefit cuts over the next 4 years: £18 billion
Cuts in education and local services: £16 billion
Bank profits for this year alone: £28 billion.
Even bigger sums than those the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition say "must" be cut from benefits and services for the worst off are being pocketed as increased profits, top salaries, and bonuses by the ultra-rich.
Do the cuts have to be as big? Or as fast? There is much debate about that. But what about the basic assumption - that there has been "too much" social spending? "Too much" for what?
Q. There has been too much social spending, hasn't there? So the Government has to cut.
A. You mean there has been too much social provision for old people? There have been too many teaching assistants in schools? Poor people have had too much housing?
The Southern and Eastern Regional TUC (SERTUC) hosted a solidarity rally with the FBU on Thursday 28 October at Congress House. The main speakers were FBU national president Mick Shaw, SERTUC president Martin Gould and John McDonnell MP.
Around 15,000 people took part in the Scottish TUC's anti-cuts demonstration held in Edinburgh last Saturday (23rd October).
This Tory/ Lib-Dem government of millionaires, ruling in the interests of billionaires and plundering bankers, has now launched the biggest attack for eight decades on the working-class people of Britain.
Not since 1931 has anything like it been known.
The Government has no authority to do what it is doing. The voters in the May general election refused to give the Tories the majority to do what they planned.
On the 3 October demonstration against the Tories in Birmingham, the SWP (Socialist Workers' Party) had placards saying:"TUC: call a general strike".
The SWP is pushing this slogan, not as a complement to agitation for action by individual workplaces and unions which could build up pressure sufficient to push the TUC into a general strike, but as a substitute.
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From the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
RED ALERT: COALITION THREATENS UNLIMITED FEES
NOW IS THE TIME TO FIGHT BACK!
The “Coalition of Resistance” (initiated by Counterfire, a group of people who recently left the SWP) has called an anti-cuts conference on 27 November.
“Right to Work”, a campaign initiated and run by the SWP, has called a “unity conference” for anti-cuts activists on 5 December.
And the National Shop Stewards’ Network, mostly run by the Socialist Party, has set an anti-cuts conference for 22 January.
The Scottish TUC’s anti-cuts demonstration in Edinburgh on Saturday, 23 October, is likely to be the biggest demonstration in Scotland since the anti-Iraq war demonstrations.
Cuts are begining to bite.
Housing Benefit cuts amounting to over £27 millions a year will leave 75% of all claimants in Scotland worse off — on average by around £7 a week.
Linking public sector pensions to the Consumer Price Index instead of the Retail Price Index will cost Scottish public sector pensioners around £17 billions over the next 20 years.
The Lib/Tory government has broken off talks with the unions about the redundancy pay entitlements of civil service workers.
The government plans to "cap" redundancy payments for those sacked at a maximum of 12 months' pay, and for redundancy-volunteers at 15 months'.
This will make it cheaper for the government to make the vast job cuts - maybe one-third of total staff - which they plan for the civil service.
The Labour government introduced milder plans to reduce severance pay. In May the PCS union won a legal ruling that the change was illegal.
In many areas Labour councillors say they will "fight the cuts" - but also implement them!
The alternative is not a little harmless trimming. Central government is set to cut councils' funding by 25% over the next four and a half years. Since much that councils do is "statutory" - background stuff that they must do, by law - a 25% cut is huge social destruction.
Five to six thousand demonstrators joined the "Right to Work" protest against the Tories in Birmingham on 3 October, despite heavy rain.
The organisers (SWP) claimed 7000, the police said 3000. The last similar protest, organised by RTW/SWP under the slogan "Rage Against Labour" (later modified to "Rage Against New Labour") in Brighton on 27 September last year, drew about 4000.
Across Europe on Wednesday 29 September public service workers and users are marching and demonstrating to defend public services against cuts, and defend jobs.
Max Watson, chair of the Unison (support workers') branch at London Metropolitan University, is the UNISON United Left candidate for the Higher Education General Seat on the union's National Executive Council. Even before the election, London Met was the site of a huge anti-cuts struggle, and Max played a key role.
By Vicki Morris
On Sunday 19 September Merseyside TUC and public sector alliance organised a feeder demonstration to a rally outside the Lib-Dem conference. The rally was organised by the North-west TUC. There were about 1500 on the march — trade unionists and community groups.
The Merseyside Public Sector Alliance has a series of meetings planned as well as lobbies of the council in Liverpool and the Wirral in October. On Monday 1 November there will be a meeting on how the cuts affect the voluntary sector; on Wednesday 3 November there will be a meeting on “Women Against the Cuts”.
At a well-attended meeting in September Leeds Trades Council launched a Leeds Against the Cuts campaign. Delegates from Unison, PCS, NUT, CWU and Unite were present at the first meeting.
Two events have been organised around the comprehensive spending review in October.
London firefighters are to be balloted for strike action this week after fire bosses began the process of mass sackings in a dispute over shift patterns. The ballot was announced at an impressive central London demonstration on 16 September that saw 2,500 firefighters march on the headquarters of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).
To defeat the cuts, the labour movement will need industrial action, organised by workers in particular sectors to resist cuts in jobs and services in their particular sector.
We will also need a broad and lively network of local committees in which people from trade union branches come together with community, service-users', and tenants' groups.
The struggle will probably not be one "big bang", but a rolling, up-and-down series of smaller and bigger "bangs", some national but many local.
At its congress in Manchester (13-16 September) the TUC voted to "encourage unions to use the impact of the Spending Review to build local campaign groups..."
It talked of building "a great campaign against the cuts - rooted in every community and with a clear national voice..."
Top union leaders told the press that they plan to delay industrial action until next spring - which begs questions about what they will do about attacks coming now, like Birmingham City Council's decision to ask all its non-school workers to accept cuts in pay and conditions or be sacked.
At its congress in Manchester (13-16 September) the TUC has resolved to build "a great campaign against the cuts - rooted in every community and with a clear national voice..."
The Tory/Lib-Dem coalition council in Birmingham has sent redundancy notices to the Council’s entire non-schools staff, of around 26,000 workers.
The notices tell staff that if they do not accept reduced terms and conditions, they will be sacked.
Council chief executive Stephen Hughes says that the council's plans "reflect the reality of huge Government spending cuts.
"The council can no longer afford to deliver all services and it is inevitable that a large number of jobs will disappear".
According to research from the TUC, the coalition government's planned cuts will hit the poorest 13 times harder than the richest.
The poorest ten per cent will lose the equivalent of 20% of household income through cuts in services; the richest ten per cent, just 1.5%.
Just counting the impact from loss of services, the TUC reckons that lone parents will lose the equivalent of 11% of household income, and single pensioners 8.7%.
Everyone but the top 10% (by income) will lose more from service cuts than the Lib/Tories' tax cuts.
“I agree with every word of that,” said UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis at a conference in Glasgow last Saturday, in response to a contribution from the floor calling on local authorities to
Our public services are under attack. The Tory-Lib Dem coalition government wants to radically slash public spending. That means cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs - sacking nurses, teachers, street cleaners, train drivers, civil servants - anyone who works for a public service is in the firing line. All sorts of services, from nurseries to care for the elderly, are under threat of closure. Millions of working-class people will be hurt by these cuts.
Cuts-happy bosses at Labour-controlled Kirklees council are fixing for a head-on confrontation with one of the best-organised union branches in the public sector as they attempt to cut up to £400 million from their budget, resulting in 2,000 job losses.
It has already identified several places to swing the axe, including taking on vulnerable temporary and agency staff and introducing new formulae for calculating sickness absence, which will make it easier for bosses to dismiss absentees.
There’s a “call to arms” coming from some of the more militant union leaders around the coalition government’s intention to reduce the public sector.
Battle lines are being drawn in the run up to the upcoming TUC conference. There is a lot of talk about building a campaign as big as the one that eventually saw the downfall of Thatcher and her Tory government.
Some of the calls from many on the left leave a lot to be desired. They are certainly vociferous, but who they are aimed at is questionable, and the language used is simply divisive.
In a revelation that cuts starkly against the coalition government’s fetishisation of the voluntary and charitable sectors, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations has published a survey showing that third sector bodies face cuts of up to 99%.
Countless organisations and services across the sector, as well as cultural bodies such as community theatres, are severely threatened by the ConDem axe.