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From: The Socialist issue 874, 14 October 2015: Organise to fight endless austerity

Search site for keywords: Glasgow - Unions - Trade unions - Cuts - Budget - Council - Local government - Unison - Unite - EIS - Anti-cuts - Councillors - GMB - UCATT

Glasgow's trade unions demand 'no-cuts' budget from council

Glasgow City Council trade unions: Unison, Unite, GMB, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Ucatt

Glasgow City Council has made spending cuts of 250 million since 2010, including huge cuts in learning disability and mental health services. Also, home care support, supported education for children, community work, library services, frontline office support and grants to voluntary organisations.

At least 4,000 council jobs have been lost. Voluntary organisations providing care services in the city have cut hundreds of jobs due to reductions in funding from the council. In the last five years charges for many council services have gone up or been introduced for the first time. These charges often hit the poorest families most.

Further cuts

The council has stated it intends to make further cuts of 103 million in 2016 and 2017 and has raised the possibility of another 3,000 job cuts, this is over 10% of the remaining workforce. This will be a disaster for vital services in the city and hit future employment opportunities for our young people.

The city's trade unions, along with various community organisations and anti-cuts groups, have been campaigning against these cuts from the start. Glasgow City Council politicians have a choice - implement Tory cuts or refuse. Trade unions in Glasgow City Council call on all elected politicians in the city to use all available financial mechanisms to hold-off any further cuts while leading a fight to win more money for the city.

The council could use some of its reserves and borrowing powers, supported by the legal financial process of "capitalisation", to fill the two year 103 million hole expected in April 2016. This would allow time and space to build a mass campaign of elected councillors, trade unions, user groups and local communities with the objective of winning more money from the Holyrood and Westminster governments.

Wrong hands

There is plenty of money in our economy - it is just in the wrong hands or lying in the bank accounts of big business. The trade unions will support any council politician or council political grouping who adopts this strategy of "No More Cuts".

The trade unions are aware of previous statements by the Glasgow City Council leadership that the city is treated unfairly under the current national local government funding arrangements.

Based on previous figures, this could be as much as 30 million over the next two years. The trade unions call on the Scottish government to change its policy on restricting funding for local government services.

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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.

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Article dated 14 October 2015

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