Anti-cuts, public services

Questions and answers on the cuts

Q. The Lib/Tory coalition says that the government just has to make social cuts, in the same way as anyone who has "maxed out" their credit cards needs to cut back. Is that true? A. No. In the first place, there is nothing impossible about the government continuing with a large budget deficit for a while. Governments can't "run out of money" in the same way that households or businesses can. In the last analysis the question "where can the government get the money from?" can be answered simply: from the Bank of England printworks. There are limits on printing more cash, but the government is...

Sheffield Archaeology: a cut with a "global impact"

A student involved with the Sheffield University Save Archaeology Campaign spoke to us. Back in February, a few students were emailed, asking us to attend an “informal chat” with the Deputy Vice Chancellor. Only a few of us were chosen and around a dozen or more of us turned up. She asked us for negative views as well as positive views about the department – she only received positive views. At a follow-up meeting, the Deputy VC laid out the conclusions from this “consultation”: they would close the Department of Archaeology and move two of its “areas of strength” into other departments. These...

Three protests on 26 June

As the well-advertised, heavily union-backed People's Assembly (PA) march moved off on 26 June, I cycled from it to join the trans rights protest assembling at Wellington Arch. It was a good few thousand. It was smaller than the PA protest but not that much smaller. It was younger and livelier; and, as far as I could judge from literature sales and conversations, pretty much as left-wing on "average" but in a more positive, less addled, way. There were contingents (small contingents, but contingents) from a clump of National Education Union (NEU) branches (Haringey, Waltham Forest, Newham...

Join the 26 June protest

The People’s Assembly (PA), an anti-cuts group, has called a demonstration in London for 26 June, noon from Portland Place. The PA was formed in 2013, is financed by trade unions including Unite, and now has “Corbynite” former Labour shadow minister Laura Pidcock as its secretary. The small socialist group Counterfire is important in its backroom workings. The protest is supported by several unions besides Unite (NEU, PCS, RMT, FBU...), and by Extinction Rebellion, which plans additional protests of its own on the weekend 26-27 June. Awkwardly, the protest, planned months ago, has accumulated...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

Marching for Moulsecoomb

Hundreds of parents, kids, workers and supporters braved the rain to march from Moulsecoomb primary school to a rally at The Level in Brighton on Saturday 15 May, demanding that the school remain in local authority control.

Despite overwhelming opposition, the Department for Education is...

After 6 May, renew fight against Tories and cuts

Thursday 6 May sees elections for 143 councils covering the majority of England; the Scottish and Welsh parliaments; the London mayor and assembly; a number of other mayoral and police and crime commissioner positions; and the parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool. The local elections are for seats last contested in May 2016 (when Labour did poorly) or in May 2017 (when Labour did very poorly, though it recovered quickly between then and the June 2017 general election). So it shouldn’t be hard for Labour to show some gains. Yet Labour’s campaigns have been deeply uninspiring. A focus on NHS...

Using the local elections to fight for workers' rights

Edd Mustill (pictured right) is an NHS worker and GMB trade union activist who is standing for Labour in the Graves Park ward of Sheffield city council. He spoke to us about his campaign. My ward – which I also live in – has a long history of Lib Dem councillors so I’m unlikely to win. I’m standing to get a decent vote, but also to raise issues, build our Labour Party branch and get more people active as campaigners. I was selected a year and a half ago, and I planned to run a campaign based on extensive voter contact, with lots of door-knocking and discussions. Obviously, events intervened...

Salford Unison pushes care workers' charter

Salford’s local government Unison branch was the first to win the right to full isolation pay for all care workers in their council area, a victory that triggered others in the North West. Now they have put a series of care workers’ demands to candidates in their local elections: 1. The Foundation Living Wage (currently £9.50/hour) for all Salford care workers. 2. Holiday pay based on normal wages. 3. Sleep-in pay at the Foundation Living Wage rate. 4. Occupational sick pay for all Salford care workers. 5. Publicly delivered social care. 6. A strong voice for workers, those in receipt of care...

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