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150-200 angry council workers met outside Stoke Town Hall on 19 February to protest against cuts that will leave some workers £5,000 a year worse off.
The Tory and Independents-run council are proposing savage budget cuts and attacks on council workers' pay and conditions.
All the protesters that we spoke to agreed that a ballot for strike action - from all three unions, Unite, GMB and Unison - is necessary as soon as possible.
Swansea Socialist Party challenged the Labour cabinet when it voted through further cuts, increases to service charges and an above-inflation council tax rise. Despite £70 million cuts, they claim services have improved over the past five years.
Attempting to put on a positive spin, the cabinet report claimed that £35 million was being added to the budget. It all sounds optimistic, but really it's a disingenuous statement from a desperate council.
What is really happening? There has been a one-off £17 million Tory election bribe, a 4.5% increase in the council tax costing residents £8 million and another £10 million more cuts.
Swansea residents will be dipping into their pockets once more because of the failure of the council to fight for the resources needed to run the city from the Tories in Westminster and the Welsh Labour government in Cardiff. £40 million more cuts are planned over the next three years.
Burying your head in the sand and hoping against hope that the Tory leopards will change their spots is no strategy whatsoever. Following the example of the Militant-led Liverpool City Council in the 1980s - that refused to implement Tory cuts - is increasingly becoming the only serious strategy to stop the destruction of council jobs and services.
In neighbouring Carmarthenshire Council, the workers' Unison union branch has consistently led the demand for the council to set a legal no-cuts budget. Now other local government union branches across Wales are starting to line up to support this call.
Newham Council set their budget on 3 March. It will be a cuts budget because they want to make £45 million 'savings'. So we are organising a protest at the town hall outside the meeting.
These cuts are linked to the gentrification of Green Street and Queen's Market. We want a guarantee that Hamara Ghar sheltered accommodation will stay, and the same for Terry Waite House.
Newham council should refuse to carry out the cuts, and instead use its reserves to set a budget which meets our borough's needs.
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Article dated 26 February 2020
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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