Kevin Avery UNISON on March and Lobby, 24th Feb… Catherine on Lobby Hillingdon Council! Say…
As a young worker, I was saddened but not surprised to read your article on 22nd of August (‘Fears of a ‘Lost Generation’ in the Borough).
Nationally, there are over one million unemployed young people, ten’s of thousands of whom have been out of work for more than a year. This does not include the millions more trapped in part time work, or full time work that is so low paid they have rely on state benefits in order to survive. Even worse, this does not include those working for parasitic ’employment agencies’, whose terms and conditions and minimal pay make working so precarious that it can be as bad as being unemployed.
There was not a mass outbreak of laziness among young people 4 years ago. There was not some natural disaster that threw millions out work, and slashed the pay of millions of others. It was not an act of god which tripled tuition fees, cut courses and university places, and slashed funding to colleges and youth services.
In reality, young people are caught in a vice; on the one hand, massive, unprecedented and cruel government cuts, on the other the refusal of big business to invest in decent jobs and opportunities for young people. Both of these are a result of the banking crisis, caused, as we all know, by the greed and arrogance of the big bankers and market speculators (and their New Labour, Tory and Liberal friends in government) who gambled away our future, then demanded we pick up the tab.
Labour assembly member Dr Sahota is correct to say young people need to be given opportunities. But what is his party saying that is different to the conservatives? That we need to cut, but more slowly?
In Hillingdon, the council has sacked hundreds of workers, closed down the Connexions youth service, cut the budgets of many service and continues to privatise the rest, in the name of ‘financial responsibility’. This is despite their £17 million reserves. In return, they have created a few apprenticeships, on £90 a week, with no guaranteed job at the end.
What has Hillingdon Labour said or done in response? Nothing. Not one councillor has publicly voted against cuts, or proposed an alternative budget to provide opportunities for young people. They have not even called a public meeting to explain their position.
Socialist Party members like myself, and my colleagues in Hillingdon Against Cuts, as well as Trade Unionists across the borough, say that instead of cutting, the Council should be investing in a future for young people.
They could be creating jobs by building public housing and refurbishing the current stock in the borough, to alleviate the growing housing crisis and take people out the hands of greedy private landlords.
They could restore EMA in Hillingdon, which would take pressure of struggling families and allow their children to attend college.
They could restore and extend funding to youth services, to get young people of the streets and support them in their search for work.
Nationally, we are calling for an immediate end to the cuts, which have driven the country into a double dip recession, just to prop up the ailing banks.
Instead we say, the banks should be nationalised under the control of the working class, and their vast resources used to rebuild the economy.
Further, the £750 billion that big business is hoarding (quite apart from the £13 TRILLION hidden of shore) should be levied, and used for socially useful projects.
This crisis is a crisis of Capitalism, the system of greed and exploitation, where the workers pay for everything, then get the blame when it goes wrong.
Workers, the unemployed, students, young and old, need to come together to end this mad system, and build a new, Socialist future for Britain and the world, a system based on peace and democracy, where we can use the vast resources of the world to build a decent future for all.
If these measures are not taken, the future for young people in Hillingdon is bleak indeed, and we will see not hundreds, but thousands and thousands of young people out of work, out of education, destitute and desperate.
Ian Harris, Branch Secretary Hillingdon Socialist Party.
In the recent local elections, Southampton council was won by Labour after an intense battle with the Tories, as well as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC, of which HAC is part).
Throughout the campaign, TUSC warned that Labour councillors would betray their constituents and implement Tory cuts, and in the main was correct.
However, in Southampton, two councillors have refused to vote through a budget that would see leisure services cut in working class areas of the city (Oaklands), and are taking a stand against austerity. Below is an interview with them:
”We didn’t become Labour councillors to make cuts and we won’t!”
Interview with Keith Morrell, Labour Councillor, Coxford Ward Southampton with additional comments from Don Thomas (Coxford Ward, Councillor)
“Don and I are convinced we are doing the right thing. We knew as soon as we were elected that it was only a matter of time before the Labour administration would be forced to make drastic cuts or privatise services.
I was named Cabinet member for Efficiency and Improvement but resigned soon after. It became obvious that however much we tried to improve savings, it easn’t going to bridge the gap and I wasn’t prepared to promote an agenda of cuts and privatisation.
Within a month of us taking power in the city Labour had announced a mini-budget which proposed the closing of Oaklands Pool with an estimated saving of £250,000 a year.
We refused to accept this and voted against it in the council chamber. Don actually raised a clenched fist to the comrades in the visitors gallery!”
Don Thomas added, “I thought that this was going to be the hardest decision i would ever made politically, but it turned out to be the easiest. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The public response has been incredible, I’ve got to stop going to the local shop, it’s only 5 minutes away but it takes me a couple of hours cos everyone wants to chat and thank me for what I am doing”
“Some in the party have joked that we are the socialist concience within its ranks. There is a lot of anger among our constituents that we are being punished for standing up on behalf of the working class people who voted for us.
It is an unacceptable decision to rob a working class district of its one and only leisure facility and we have been propelled into the front line because it happened in our ward.
What is happening here is going to be replicated nationwide as local authorities struggle with the cuts in funding. All labour councillors will have to choose between dismantling local government or putting up a fight. This will inevitablly mean a fight against the coalition government.
The role of the local authority unions especially Unite and Unison is very important, they must be prepared to work with us and against the cuts. Unite nationally have passed a resolution in support of our position but at the end of the day it is not just about local government and cuts it is about the continued recession both locally and nationally.
The trade unions must be prepared to take up the fight for all workers.
Workers are now more closely watching what the labour council says and does and it raises the question of whether the labour Party works in their interest? I think that it should
We hear our collragues say “I didn’t become a councillor to make cuts but…”, well we didn’t become Labour councillors to make cuts and we won’t!
Simon Letts, Cabinet member for resources said after the election ” officers always tend to exaggerate the situation and it never turns out to be as bad as they say” well 2-3 weeks later he was describing the situation facing the Labour Council as “perilous”
This is the backdrop to the discussions around next years budget. They are already talking about establishing a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCO) effectively transferring adult social care to the private sector who can reduce pay and conditions or services without the council directly getting the blame.
I call this ‘passing the buck’.
Refering to the challenges facing Keith and Don in the near future, Don commented, “there is a line you draw in the sand and we will not budge.”
2nd August 2012.
What on earth are our elected Councillors doing to oppose this Government’s policies of cruelty against those least able to defend themselves. Have they become so used to their inflated Allowances/Expenses, that they are afraid to speak out to defend the ill-housed, the homeless, the sick and disabled etc? Are they so afraid of being de-selected by their Political Parties that they have lost their voices and any semblance of Principle or Humanity. Have they forgotten that they are supposed to represent the electorate?
You recently highlighted the case of a family of five whom the council had decided had made themselves “intentionally homeless”. Despite their best efforts they could not get Legal Aid and representation to appeal the decision until it was too late. The council then challenged and defeated their application for their case to be heard ‘out of time’ in the County Court on 31st July, thus leaving the family homeless and desperate as they do not have the deposit nor a guarantor to rent in the expensive Private Sector. Their Member of Parliament apparently could do nothing. The Cabinet Member for Housing apparently could do nothing. All the family wanted was the right to be interviewed, to defeat the false allegations made against them which led to the perverse initial Council decision. It is a travesty of justice and a display of bureaucratic cruelty to beggar belief.
Their treatment is not unusual. Despite the best efforts of the depleted and demoralised Housing Staff and in spite of the promises of the Councillors to defend Front-line Services and the weakest in our community; the hardship inflicted on our most vulnerable people increases daily.
A young man with Aspergers, homeless since June and having been awarded Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with the Higher element of Care, has been offered a room in a private house with shared facilities. The rent for this one room is £178 per week including Management costs! The room was offered by a Management Company acting on behalf of the Council, a ‘Privatised’ Management Service, which was supposed to be cheaper than that offered by the now redundant public spirited Council Employees.
I am dealing with many such cases of hardship and injustice which would break any heart and the repeated response is that there is nothing that can be done because of government policies and the lack of Social and Affordable housing. Sadly we have seen nothing yet as only 15% of the cuts have yet been implemented. These vicious ideological policies to destroy the Welfare State must be defeated. The real cost in hardship, ill-health, family breakdown and suicide increase weekly. 32 sick and disabled people who have been found ‘fit for work’ – die every week as the super-rich get richer and the bankers bonuses return to be stashed in off-shore tax-havens. Community Spirit, The Big Society, All in it together, Active citizens – pure callous, meaningless humbug.
Yours faithfully, Wally Kennedy, Hillingdon Against Cuts.
27 Townsend Way, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1TG.
Hillingdon Trades Union Council (HTUC)
27 Townsend Way,
June 20th 2012.
The next Meeting of the Hillingdon Trades Union Council will be on July 5th at 7.30pm in the Civic Centre, Uxbridge UB8 1UW.
The Meeting will be preceded by a LOBBY of the Full Council Meeting of the Borough in opposition to the cuts and austerity.
The Lobby will begin at 6pm until 7.30pm and the start of our HTUC Meeting. We urge you to try to attend and to bring your banners/placards.
Please ensure that Delegates or Observers from your Union are in attendance.
2) Notice of any other business
3) Motions or Resolutions (7 days notice please)
4) Reports: Chair, Secretary, Finance.
5) Any other business.
6) Date of next meeting.
Yours in solidarity,
Wally Kennedy, Secretary.
1) This Saturday Feb 25th … 1pm outside the Tackle Shop in Harefield … 1,000 leaflets to deliver for the Public Meeting bus 331.
2) This Sunday Feb 26th … 1pm outside Emmanuel Church, High Street Northwood … 1,000 leaflets to deliver for Public Meeting … buses H11 and 282.
3) Tuesday 28th …. Harefield Library …Meeting starts at 6.30pm … please be there no later than 6.15pm
4) Wednesday 29th …. Emmanuel Church … Meeting starts at 6.30pm … please be there no later than 6.15pm.
5) Saturday March 3rd … Hayes Town Centre … 1,000 leaflets to be delivered …. May even leaflet church on Sunday also.
6) Tuesday March 6th … Public Meeting, Community Hall, Catholic Church, Botwell Lane, Hayes … starts at 6.30pm … please arrive by 6.15pm … buses 427 … U4 … 140 etc.
7) Saturday March 10th … 1pm Uxbridge Town Centre … 1,000 leaflets to be delivered.
8) Sunday March 11th … 1pm Yiewsley … 1,000 leaflets to be delivered … bus 222 from Uxbridge
9) Wednesday March 14th … Friends Meeting House, Uxb … starts at 6.30pm … please arrive for 6.15pm.
10) Thursday March 15th … Yiewsley Methodist Church Hall, Fairfield Road, Yiewsley … starts at 6.30pm … please arrive for 6.15pm.
11) Meetings to be confirmed at Brunel, West Drayton and South Ruislip.
Please try to be involved in the campaign … contact: 07415-609-012. Facebook page: Hillingdon Against Cuts …..