Around a hundred trade union and community activists attended an anti-cuts meeting organised on Saturday 23 January by Glasgow City Unison branch. Trade unions and community organisations have come together into a single campaign against council cuts in jobs and services.
Glasgow City Council is making major cuts in jobs and services over the next three years, involving not just the council but also its “Arms Length Organisations” — supposedly set up to safeguard jobs and services!
The proposed cuts include:
• 600 immediate job losses with more to come;
• 12 community centres, a library and a swimming pool to close;
• introduction of charges for school breakfast clubs;
• cuts in home care services and in support for people with disabilities;
• cuts in welfare rights workers, and a 50% cut in community worker jobs;
• 20% cut in funding to community and voluntary sector organisations over the next three years.
Similar cuts are also planned — or being implemented already – by other councils across Scotland. With Scottish councils facing an estimated 15% cut in their income over the next three years, some 20,000 jobs could be lost.
Much of the Glasgow meeting was taken up with practical examples of the impact of the proposed cuts and of initiatives already being planned to oppose them.
The Scottish teachers’ union, the EIS, will be holding an all-Scottish demonstration in Glasgow on 6 March under the slogan “Don’t Make Our Children Pay!”
The Scottish TUC will be convening a Scottish conference to bring together the trade unions and community groups.
The meeting agreed to organise the biggest possible lobby of Glasgow City Council against the cuts.
But the meeting also sent out a clear political message.
This was that there is nothing inevitable about cuts in jobs and services. Workers and service users should not have to pay the price for bailing out the banks and the bankers’ bonus payments. That implementing policies such as taxing the wealthy and scrapping Trident would provide the money needed to protect jobs and services.
The meeting elected a steering committee — with 50% of the places going to union representatives, and 50% going to community group representatives.
The Glasgow meeting provided a basis from which to build a broad-based campaign which can successfully challenge all cuts, whatever party seeks to implement them.