Health, education, housing, benefits, local councils, ...
Just as the boards were going up on the first of eleven libraries due to be axed by Wirral Council, we were told that the closures would be halted pending a Government enquiry and decision by Andy Burnham MP, the Culture Secretary.
Let's be clear: this enquiry has come directly as a result of the campaigning that has taken place across the Wirral and is, despite problems to be faced in the future, a big step forward. As council cuts begin to be made across the country, it is important that we pool information, about what activists are doing on the ground in local areas.
By a London social worker
This is how the Social Work Activities Network describes itself (socialworkfutures.org)
On the 11 December Greater Manchester will vote on a package of government funding for transport that is dependent on the introduction of congestion charging over a wide area of 80 square miles around the centre of Manchester. To win, there needs to be a majority for the proposals in seven of the 10 GM boroughs. This may be helped by the fact that the referendum question does not mention the charge.
2 years ago, Metroline drivers broke 7 years silence from the union and took strike action against the 2nd biggest transport transnational organization in the world. A visibly scared, and in some ways corrupt, union leadership backed down - and drivers agreed to pocket far less than their due before Christmas. They were the only section of the union to take action.
The next year Metroline bosses were unusually quick to meet the union’s (low) demands. Unite leaders, probably to save Ken Livingstone, appeared to shelve all disputes on the London buses.
Councils are preparing their budgets for 2008-9. Some councils, notably Newcastle and Southampton, are planning sizeable cuts.
In recent years, such cuts have been rare. Cumulative central government controls since the 1980s have reduced local councils to little more than local agents of central government.
Following the massive strike movement of last Autumn which ended in stalemate, French rail workers are preparing for the next round. I met with Joachim, a union activist and member of the revolutionary group the LCR at Gare Montparnasse in Paris to talk about the situation. He told me about the atmosphere at the station in the wake of November’s battle with management over pensions.
David Cameron has launched a fresh offensive against single parents, unemployed and disabled people with plans to force them into work. The Tory leader’s proposals include making the unemployed participate in “community work”, penalties for those who turn down “reasonable” job offers and cutting the number of people receiving incapacity benefit by 600,000 over the next five years.
At the time of writing, Glasgow City Council daycare strikers are about to begin their eighth week on strike. All the signs are that they will still be on strike over Christmas and the New Year.
The indefinite strike action is in response to the City Council’s implementation of “Single Status”, which is meant to end sexually discriminatory rates of pay in local authorities.
When we watch a TV documentary exposing abuse of older people by visiting care staff, we shake our heads with incredulity that someone could do that to another vulnerable human being.
Our postman is a poet
Today, I found that out.
No, it’s not that unusual -
There’s loads of us about.
And he’s not any old poet -
He’s a hippie poet for sure
By Mike Rowley
State legal aid is a vital lifeline for many people who cannot afford to pay a lawyer, including people with problems with debt, police and this country’s endlessly persecutory immigration authorities. Naturally, therefore, New Labour has decided to “marketise” the legal aid system.
A leaflet to introduce the four left candidates for UNISON's NEC health seats. Please print off and distribute to UNISON members working in health.
By a Probation Service Unison activist
WITH privatisation legislation now heading for the House of Lords, the probation unions Napo and Unison need to urgently organise for joint action to stop the rot. We’ve got an uphill task.
UK-wide probation areas are preparing for the first raft of privatisations. Probation areas have been told to spend more of their budget on buying services from the private sector, and this is already going ahead.
By Mike Fenwick, leeds health unison and leeds keep our nhs public
GORDON Brown will impose a below inflation pay award on the public sector this year. The armed services are exempt but all those working in the NHS, civil service etc will have an effective cut in salary.
The headline award for nurses is 2.5%, but, staged, in two payments, it becomes only 1.9%. Deduct the 0.25% Gordon has claimed for extra pensions contributions, and consider that the inflation rate is 4.2%: that’s a real terms cut of 2.55%.
By Faryal Velmi
Despite the biggest demonstration seen in Lambeth for a decade, savage cuts to Adult Social Services in Lambeth were voted through on Wednesday 28 February.
The Labour run Lambeth Council voted to cut £736,000 from the ASS budget and the results will be felt harshly by local frail and isolated older and disabled people, adults with learning difficulties, people with mental ill-health and carers.
I love the British Library's Newspaper Archive in Colindale. I discovered it when I first started looking into the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921, and came away with armfuls of newspaper articles which transported me back eighty years as effectively as a Tardis might. At that time, I could hardly believe such a teasure trove existed. Now, I can barely contemplate it not existing.
After the formalities and back-slapping that mark the start of Congress, the first big debate was on Pensions. As I reported yesterday, we had a long and uncontroversial composite motion on the subject.
Following a successful lobby of Parliament on June 27, the John McDonnell-initiated ‘Public Services Not Private Profit’ campaign looks as if it may have the potential to cohere the various trade union-orientated anti-privatisation campaigns into a single fight-back against the Blair government’s assault on the public sector.
AWL leaflet for "Public services not private profit" lobby of Parliament, 27 June 2006.
More information on the European Network for Public Services which came out of the European Social Forum in Athens click here
Dear friends from the European Network for Public Services,
This message is sent to all people registered on the list we made during the last saturday session.
The RAS (an activist Host ) is ready to contribute by hosting our collective tool . We propose to name our mailing list "email@example.com".
this proposal is going to Northern region of unison from Newcastle City Branch delegates to Esf from Northern Region
EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM 2006
Public services were a major theme at the 4th ESF held in Athens, between
Motion passed at AWL conference 29-30 April 2006.
For many on the left the LRC and the crisis of working class representation in politics seems an abstraction compared to short cut demands for a new party now. We have called over the years for a campaign to link the issue of political representation to the defence of the Welfare State representing the independent political economy of the working class. Despite our best efforts and some well attended lobbies and conferences we failed to build the Welfare State Network (WSN) into the broader CND style campaign we desired.
By Colin Foster
We may be approaching the point at which — given a lead by a sufficiently strong and weighty body of activists — the multiform discontent with the Blair-Brown government's drive to chop up the welfare state could be transformed into a campaign strong enough to change the social balance of forces.
350 library workers in Sheffield have been on all-out indefinite strike since 5 June over the council’s threat to remove enhanced pay for weekend work, breaking national conditions of service. All workers in the Council’s leisure department face the same threat, resulting in a pay cut of up to 7% for some of the lowest paid workers.
For Gordon Brown, Tory public spending limits, pleasing the City, and retaining Tory tax cuts for the rich are the priorities; the rest of us must submit to "tough choices" to meet those priorities. A government truly accountable to the labour movement and committed to the welfare state would have spelled out different priorities in a "Budget speech" something like the following.