Brian Smith - Glasgow Unison branch secretary
The Scottish local government employer’s organisation CoSLA expects a minimum of £500 million in cuts in funding for Scottish councils for 2016/17. CoSLA’s finance spokesman, Labour councillor, Kevin Keenan, said; “Scottish local government and the communities we represent cannot take any more pain. We are talking of severe cuts in vital services and job losses…there are no soft targets left.”
Despite these words, Labour and SNP councils across Scotland seem intent on carrying through the brutal Tory cuts and inflicting devastating consequences on working-class communities as a result.
The Glasgow-led Labour council have just sent out a communication to all employees titled “Transforming Glasgow.” “Austerity Glasgow” would be a more accurate description. The administration told its staff there would be “£121 million in cuts in the next two years”. Next year’s cuts of £77 million would involve 1,500 full-time equivalent jobs losses. The ludicrous claim was made that this would “not affect front-line council services”. Insulting talk of “eliminating waste” and “smarter and leaner working” is scandalous. To rub salt into the wounds, apparently some of our members jobs “do not add value” to the council. Attacks on the workforces’ terms and conditions are also likely.
This is not business as usual. Staffing numbers have already been cut by 4,000 in Glasgow since 2011. Our members provide services that care and protect people, educate our children, clean and protect our environment and offer sport and cultural opportunities.
Five Glasgow local council trade unions, Unison, Unite, EIS, GMB and Ucatt, have a clear policy of demanding that the council refuse to implement the cuts and set a no cuts budget by using their powers while launching a mass campaign to win back the £250 million already slashed from Glasgow’s budget since 2010.
We’ll be lobbying the Scottish Government on Thursday 10th December to demand that they also refuse to pass on this horrific round of Tory cuts. Talk of being anti-austerity is meaningless unless it is backed-up with a determined campaign by SNP and Labour MSPs and councillors to refuse to implement the cuts.
If the politicians do vote through this deluge of austerity, trade unionists and socialists must redouble our efforts to offer a fighting alternative at the elections next year. The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will stand on a platform of turning Holyrood and Scotland’s councils into fortresses of opposition to cuts. Working-class communities deserve better than another round of pass-the-cuts-parcel by politicians whose job it should be to launch the fight of their lives to defend jobs and services.
No Cuts lobby of the Scottish parliament
Thursday 10 December 12.30
Called by Glasgow trade unions Unison, Unite, GMB, EIS and Ucatt
Facebook event here