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2 June 2010

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Coventry - time for mass action

THE PEOPLE of Coventry saw this week what the Con-Dem coalition government's 'new politics' looks like, with the announcement of around 1,000 job losses in the city.

Peter Chase

The 6 billion worth of cuts that the government will be making includes 330 jobs going at Becta, the schools IT agency, and 500 at the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA). Linked to these cuts are further job losses at the Skills Funding Agency (formerly the Learning and Skills Council).

The offices that QCDA operate from are virtually brand new, with many staff having relocated recently from London. Coventry's manufacturing base has been destroyed during past Tory and Labour governments, and the public sector employs thousands of people in the area.

This is just the start - before further budgetary announcements locally and nationally. Coventry city council is going to make cuts of at least 72 million over the next three years. City College has announced 50 job cuts. The city's two universities will be under pressure, as will the NHS, Royal Mail and countless other workplaces, for example Ericsson said recently they will be leaving the city, causing 700 job losses.

If that wasn't enough, there are press reports that Foleshill sports centre could close due to lack of funds - with job losses and the disappearance of a key community facility. The Socialist Party says that nothing about this is inevitable. Ordinary people in Coventry did not cause this crisis, just as workers in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain or anywhere else did not cause it - but we are all being asked to pay the price for it.

The Socialist Party was campaigning in Coventry city centre on Saturday 29 May, arguing that these attacks need to be met with a huge response. The trade unions must link up with the wider community to resist this massacre of jobs.

We need a movement as big as the one that brought down Thatcher's poll tax. Ordinary people did it then, we can do it again.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Article dated 2 June 2010

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Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

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