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20 October 2021

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Hackney children's centres - more education cuts are devastating

Save Fernbank protesters. Photo: Chris Newby

Save Fernbank protesters. Photo: Chris Newby   (Click to enlarge)

Brian Debus, Chair, Unison Hackney local government (personal capacity)

After years of behind-the-scenes cuts, the Labour council in Hackney, east London, is now cutting education services to the bone. Scores of support staff in schools have lost their jobs in the last two years.

Now, two children's centres, Fernbank and Hillside, within a 15-minute walk of each other, face closure - with the potential loss of over 25 jobs.

Meanwhile, at Holmleigh Primary School, a stone's throw from Hillside, five of 13 support staff jobs are being cut over Christmas. All these cuts will have a devastating impact on staff, children and parents.

At a joint meeting of Fernbank and Hillside workers on 12 October, members of public service union Unison voted unanimously to call for an official ballot for strike action. They will have the full support of parents outraged by the attacks, who are also mounting a campaign.

Parents, children and workers have already demonstrated against the council's shock announcement (see socialistparty.org.uk). Hackney and Islington Socialist Party ran a joint campaign stall with parents on 16 October. A future protest is due on the steps of Hackney Town Hall at 6pm on 20 October.

Any more cuts in the education sector will have a massive impact on the learning environment for children - in particular, young and vulnerable children of working-class families. Almost half the families served are on low incomes.

Labour councils need to stop meekly implementing Tory cuts in funding. Instead, they could use their substantial reserves to reverse austerity, and use the huge support this would receive to build a campaign for more central government funds.

Community and trade union campaigns will need to consider standing their own, anti-cuts candidates next May in council elections. They would be welcome to join the transport workers' union RMT, the Socialist Party and others in standing under the umbrella of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

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In The Socialist 20 October 2021:


Fight for a socialist recovery

Tories to blame for GP crisis

Container delay carnage makes the case for socialist planning

Socialist nationalisation not bailouts for the bosses

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Unite union policy conference

University workers ballot for strike action

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Napo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing

Scunthorpe scaffs strike for pay

People's budgets

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Brighton bin workers' victory in sight

Fight to defend homelessness services

Ealing People's Budget - cuts can be resisted

Northampton People's Budget - cuts and privatisation is a failed strategy

Fighting the cuts at the ballot box in Liverpool

Fall of apartheid

The fall of Apartheid in South Africa

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Save the planet from capitalist climate catastrophe


Austria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid allegations of corruption


Obituary - Tony Davison: "I work for Militant, but Laing's pay my wages"


"Are you the socialist cabby?"

Housing crisis: Tories and Labour are not on our side

Liverpool arms fair: Hundreds of protesters defy police 'dispersal zone'

Hackney children's centres - more education cuts are devastating

Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus

Doncaster: Vigil condemns violence against women

Readers' opinion

I'm unemployed: For me vacancy crisis is a lie

TV review: Squid Game


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Article dated 20 October 2021

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