Two important demonstrations are taking place this Saturday, 10th February, in Dundee and Glasgow. Organised by local government trade unions and Dundee Against Cuts, the Dundee demo has been called to oppose yet another round of multi-million cuts by the SNP-led council. The Glasgow march is organised by Glasgow City Unison to demand the full settling of the equal pay claims of thousands of female workers and a fair and fully funded job evaluation scheme. In both cases unions are also demanding councils set no cuts budgets as a step towards building a mass campaign to win back the hundreds of millions stolen from Dundee and Glasgow by austerity cuts
March against cuts Dundee Saturday 10th February, 12.30pm
Assemble Albert Square
The Scottish government’s latest budget means further misery for council workers and local communities.
Continued cuts after a decade of austerity, 30,000 job losses and chronic low pay is not a fair settlement, as claimed by Finance Secretary Derek MacKay.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) estimate that local councils need an additional £545 million just to stand still.
Local councils have suffered an 8% cut in real terms since 2010. The effect will be more cuts in services, closure of vital community facilities, increased service charges and increased council tax.
Tens of thousands of jobs and attacks on council workers’ terms and conditions are also on the cards, as well as the potential for compulsory job losses.
This track record exposes the myth of the SNP being anti-austerity. The Scottish government and local councils have become agents of Tory austerity from Westminster.
Budgets in council chambers and the Scottish parliament have passed with barely a whimper of protest by elected politicians.
The arguments for No Cuts budgets have been won in some unions at a local and national level and the challenge now is to turn those positions in to a real struggle to defend jobs and services.
When councils meet to set their budgets in February they should face a barrage of opposition.
The three local authority trade unions (UNISON, Unite and GMB) have submitted a pay claim for a 6.5% pay increase.
This can be linked to the wider struggle against austerity. This would be the first step in trying to redress the years of below inflation pay rises.
It is up to the council trade unions to give a lead and build on the local struggles that have taken place.
Demonstrations, lobbies and protests are crucial in building on the widespread anger against the continued cuts agenda.
Council workers are angry at pay cuts, job losses and increased workloads. The only thing that will reverse the years of austerity will be a campaign of mass co-ordinated industrial action backed up by support in local communities facing cuts in services.
Linked to the building of a fighting socialist and anti-austerity political alternative to Tory, SNP and Labour cuts.
Glasgow: Pay up now – Settle all equal pay claims Saturday 10th February, Assemble Glasgow Green 11.30am
Text of Socialist Party Scotland leaflet
Glasgow council trade unions and determined female low-paid workers have won a victory in forcing the council to stop endless legal appeals against the equal pay ruling. This is only the first step in winning pay equality for women in the council.
The fight is now to keep the pressure on to make the council settle the 11,000 pay claims against discrimination fairly with full back pay.
Glasgow Unison is also correctly raising the need to campaign for a new job evaluation scheme based on real pay justice.
Previous battles with the council and its officers show industrial action will need to be prepared for. To force fair and equal pay and prevent attacks on terms and conditions. Pay inequality and cuts are political decisions by councillors and politicians.
Trade unions and workers must fight any attempt to offset the cost of equal pay with council cuts.
The Glasgow council trade unions have consistently demanded that the council use all financial mechanisms at its disposal including borrowing, use of reserves, debt management and the cancellation of PFI deals to set a fighting no cuts budget.
The SNP council, faced with cuts from central government and the equal pay bill, must launch a mass campaign uniting with the trade unions and the communities to demand funding and return of the money stolen in cuts by the Scottish and Westminster governments.
Any other strategy means implementing Tory cuts on working class people.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Women council workers were right to be angry at decades of Labour-controlled Glasgow practicing pay discrimination.
The legacy of several hundred million in cuts and anti-trade union behaviour by the previous Blairite Labour council under McAveety and Matheson will not and should not be forgotten by the workforce.
Labour are still implementing cuts budgets in councils across Scotland.
However those who expected a fighting anti austerity stance from the new SNP administration are being disappointed.
Promises made to Unison and the IT workers about the relationship with CGI under privatisation have been abandoned.
The Janitors had to fight on for months after the SNP won the election and threaten strike action before getting pay justice.
All this as well as the SNP preparing a cuts budget in the council for this year and doing nothing to oppose the cuts in the draft Scottish government budget while saying they are “standing up for Glasgow”.
Socialist Party Scotland members play a leading role in Glasgow Unison and we fully support the Glasgow trade unions fight for pay justice and a no cuts budget.
We call on newly elected Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and the Labour left to support the no cuts budget strategy, propose it in the council chamber and fight for it outside.
Otherwise they are opposing austerity in words not deeds. We are prepared to fight for a genuine anti austerity alternative as we have done standing as the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition in the last council elections.
There is also a need for the trade union movement nationally to follow the fighting example of Glasgow and take nationally co-ordinated strike action against austerity and low pay.
- For a new, fair, fully funded job evaluation scheme
- Set a no cuts budget! Return the millions stolen from Glasgow by austerity