The public sector union Unison predicts 25,000 jobs will be under threat from recently announced budget cuts in Welsh councils, to take place over the next three years.
Cuts in Wales have been slower than in England, but thousands of jobs have already been lost over the last three years — a 5.8% cut in real terms.
Cardiff council plans £50 million cuts next year out of a £500 million budget, of which 60% is spent on statutory functions. English councils have already warned that they may be unable to meet statutory functions by 2015-16.
Unison is opposed to compulsory redundancies, and is demanding that councils to draw up “parallel” budgets based on communities’ needs. While this opposition is welcomed, Unison should also be acting on its conference policy to encourage Labour councillors to defy the whip and vote against cuts, working with the Councillors Against Cuts network.
If Welsh councils do pass on cuts, this will mean axing youth services, care services, funding for the arts and voluntary sectors, closures of libraries etc.
Once gone, these services will be hard to rebuild.
Communities and workers should unite to resist these cuts. Occupations, direct action, strikes, marches, and setting illegal budgets should be considered.
The cuts are not necessary. The government wants to direct blame away from the bosses, and prepare to privatise local services to make profit where possible and end services altogether where not.