Thursday, August 13, 2009

There's a storm coming

It's clear from news reports while I was away on holiday that storm clouds are gathered over the heads of local government workers.

Whilst I am guilty of imagining that Tory County Council leaders must mostly be chubby red faced squires who ought not to be taken too seriously(most probably bewhiskered and prone to fox hunting) I don't think we can simply view with derision their plans for massive spending cuts.

And whilst the proposal for local variations in benefits rates from the loony right in Essex does seem completely daft, so did the Poll Tax until it happened.

In London we've seen Hammersmith giving us a flavour of what the Tories are going to be like in national government - cutting services to keep taxes down, whilst in Barnet the imaginative and determined response of the trade unions and community is all that is fending off wholesale privatisation.

We need to step up national and Regional support for our local government branches, to facilitate campaigning (including necessary industrial action) and to prepare for the conflict which is going to engulf much of local government over the next couple of years.

Those of us with the relative good fortune to retain Labour Councils are hardly immune from the pressure for spending cuts and privatisation - indeed the test for any Labour candidates who want trade union support will be whether they can convincingly pledge to support us in our resistance.

1 comment:

Jackie Bristol UNISON said...

Hi Jon, the storm is coming for the rest of us but I think it's the same one that has been battering some parts of the country and rather than lose some of it's bite it appears to be gathering momentum. (don't know how polite we have to be but the 'P' word would have been easier and more descriptive)
As all local authorities roll out "Transformation" or "Futures Programme" with relentless vigour, it just means one thing, cut back, cut out, or cut off.
Buy a brollie, batten down the hatches and fight the battles, Trade Union Activists are going to be busier than they've ever been, our members never more worried for their jobs and the vulnerable of our society will end up getting hurt all in the name of "value for money".