Monday, March 08, 2010

Unity in a cold climate

It's freezing in London local government - and I don't mean because the heating's broken.



With just four London boroughs proposing increases in Council Tax, and five proposing reductions, the majority have opted for a straightforward freeze - bringing us cuts in jobs and services even ahead of the much anticipated post-election butchery of public services.



This is not, however, simply an issue for local government workers. London Councils are lobbying for control over health service funding (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2010/02/01/113685/London-Councils-wants-boroughs-to-control-health-funds.htm). In the current climate they are not doing this simply to grab power and influence.



Following the Government's "Total Place" agenda, our employers have realised that a good way to make cuts in public services will be to bring together the administration of public services from across different parts of the public sector. They want to "eliminate overlap" - which sounds lovely unless you're the person they're sacking to achieve it!



All of this may be based upon calculations of potential savings which have little basis in evidence but the enthusiasm of our employers is clear (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2010/01/25/113639/london-councils-urges-agency-integration-to-cut-costs.htm).



The challenge to Unison is equally clear - particularly in London. Either we break down the barriers between our service groups now to organise the defence of our members or the employers will do it for us and leave us to pick up the pieces.



It's freezing right across London's public services - and unity is the response our members deserve and to which they are entitled.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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