Monday, 2 December 2013

TUSC Public Meeting Tomorrow – Why We Need Anti-Cuts Councillors

Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition

Fighting Austerity – Why We Need Anti-Cuts Councillors

Tuesday Dec 3rd


Youth Hostel, 14 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA

The government is demanding Bristol City Council cut £90m from their budget in the next 3 years. This is one quarter of the total budget, already reduced by years of austerity.

This will mean 1000 people could lose their jobs. Services will be shut. This will hit hardest in so-called discretionary services like libraries, parks and public toilets. These are vital to Bristol but don’t have to be provided by law.

Services that remain open may be privatised or run by volunteers, not trained professionals. Charities may be expected to step in but Unions and anti-cuts campaigners will be working hard to stop this, starting by lobbying consultation meetings.

But will our mayor and councillors listen? They have already shown themselves to be dependable servants of the Tory government, pushing through the cuts locally. Last year’s cuts budget went through with only one vote against.

While anti-cuts activists don’t have a political voice we are fighting with one hand tied behind out backs. We need local representatives who will stand up for local people, not this shameful shower of collaborators. Last year Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts stood for mayor to oppose all cuts. We said the budget should be based on what local people need, not Tory demands for austerity. We should fight to get back the money they’ve stolen. Next year we’ll be standing in every council seat in Bristol. But we don’t just need your vote, we need your help. Join us in supporting every protest, industrial action and occupation needed to stop these savage attacks on ordinary people.

End the pay freeze: A united fight in post-16 education, support the strike tomorrow

Bristol university workers on strike in October 2013

Bristol university workers on strike in October 2013

On 3 December university and college workers will be taking action. This strike day involves UCU, Unison and Unite members working in universities who struck on 31 October, now joined by further education (FE) members of UCU in England and higher education (HE) members of EIS in Scotland.

In HE, the employers' organisation UCEA returned to negotiations with the unions, but did not improve on the initial pay offer of 1% that triggered the dispute. Rattled by the 31 October strike, they have asked the individual employers to impose 1%. University workers are fully aware, however, that their employers have multi-million-pound surpluses and reserves while staff incomes have fallen by 13% in real terms since 2008.

FE staff have similarly experienced a 15% real-terms pay cut in the last four years, and have just rejected their employers' offer of a 0.7% increase - that is, another below-inflation rise - with over 70% voting tostrike. This doubtless reflects the anger union members feel when research shows that over half the lecturers in FE work ten hours' unpaid overtime during an average week, for dwindling pay.

Many student unions and the NUS nationally have passed resolutions in favour of the action, with Socialist Students and other campaigning groups building support. Ultimately our interests are all the same - for a public, fully-funded education system, free at the point of use and democratically run.

This background makes the coordinated national strike action particularly positive - the more unions that can be brought out together, the greater chance of success. At the same time, it is important for each dispute to have a strategy and to keep its own momentum.

Industrially, we need to work to build for a 24-hour general strike against austerity; and politically, trade unionists and students need to consider the question of an alternative to the three parties of austerity. Education is been under attack - we need to fight to defend it!