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From: The Socialist issue 1097, 5 August 2020: NHS pay: 15% for all now

Search site for keywords: Unite - Union - Socialist - Cuts - Candidates - Kent

Kent County Council spending 'consultation'

Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

Unite the Union, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

Unite the Union, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Eric Segal, chair, Unite union SE/6305 services branch

The response by Tory Kent County Council to Covid-19 is to launch a public consultation entitled: "Have your say on Kent County Council's spending priorities and approach following the Covid-19 pandemic". The consultation closes on 9 August. Kent council said: "This means we now need to relook at our budget and make some changes."

This consultation document formed the background to a Unite union SE/6305 Services branch meeting, held recently on Zoom. The reality of this 'consultation' is that the council wants to get rid of services that our members and working-class families depend upon at the moment, and are most desperately needed.

The branch discussed how we can fight the proposed cuts to services, looking at the various options. This included the position of the Labour Party, because we are aware that elections will be held in 2021. The branch is concerned that if Labour is not prepared to fight all cuts, then members' hard-earned union subscriptions will go to fund Labour candidates who support cuts to services.

Significantly, the branch agreed to circulate a proposition to all members across Kent which states: "SE/3605 Services branch calls on Unite the Union to fight all austerity cuts. We do not believe that merely putting the blame of mismanagement over the Covid-19 pandemic on the government as the cause of cuts in local services is the way forward.

"We therefore call on Unite the Union to build a campaign of opposition to all cuts in local services in Kent. This branch states that as a part of this campaign, candidates supported by this branch must be prepared to defend our local services from all cuts. This union branch will therefore support socialist candidates standing in opposition to Labour candidates who will not oppose all cuts."

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Article dated 5 August 2020

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