Unison members at Nottinghamshire County Council will strike on 24 February against the Tory-run authority’s plans to axe 1000 jobs in the next three months. The council proposes to spend a total of £60 million making 3,500 redundancies over the next three years.
Voting two to one in favour of action, these workers are the first to stage industrial action against job cuts. Their action is vitally important for all public sector workers facing cuts.
Since winning the council in 2009 the Tories have pledged to transform their ideological commitment to “smaller local government” into direct political action.
The threat to 1000 jobs is just a small part of the picture. Back in 2009 they announced the wholesale privatisation of council-run care homes. The figures for cuts to jobs and spending have now increased, as has the pace of privatisation. Already, contracts are out to tender for a large number of previously council-run services.
Local Unison stewards and officers have been building toward action since last year. They have been consistently organising and rallying the membership for action.
In the face of overwhelming support from the membership, the national union had to grant permission for action.
Elsewhere, union members in Tower Hamlets and Doncaster are balloting.
To defeat the Tory cuts agenda, this sort of action must spread wider, and needs to be combined with strikes across the public sector.