Sunday, 27 June 2010

200 trade unionists protest against the cuts on budget day!

[Words, pictures and video - Peter Knight]

Up to 200 trade unionists from a range of city workplaces united to vent their anger at the ConDem budget on Tuesday 22 June at a Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council organised demonstration outside Hove Town Hall.

Union reps from Unison, GMB, PCS, UCU and NUT trade unions, along with representatives from Brighton Benefits Campaign, all rounded on Chancellor George Osborne's repressive plans to attack public services and welfare rights that will see the poorest workers and the unemployed paying the price for the bankers' failure that underlines the current economic crisis.

With 25 per cent cuts being passed on to local council authorities, and an initial £3.5 million already set to be cut locally, the axe that threatens public services across Brighton and Hove falls into the hands of the city's 54 councillors. All 54 were all invited to attend the demonstration to publicly agree to vote down any budget presented to the city council that will result in: Redundancies in the council workforce; Cuts to the council’s public spending budget; The privatisation of any part of the public sector; Attacks on pay, pensions and working conditions of council workforce; Increases in Council Tax.

A handful of Labour Party councillors attended and, while not explictly signalling their intention to sign up to the demands above, spoke of their anger at the ConDem cuts and the stitch up by the Conservative run-council in denying opposition parties the democratic right to vote at the emergency council budget meeting on 15 July.

No councillors from either the Tories or Liberal Democrats dared to show their faces, but four Green Party councillors came to protest with councillor Jason Kitcat saying that they "will vote against all the cuts, we will vote aginst all the Tory plans."

A video clip from the demonstration shows their comments.

Following on from the Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council March for Jobs demonstration earlier this year, trade unionists have continued to organise against the attacks facing working people and to mount pressure on the city's elected representatives not to carry out these unjustified cuts.

United pressure from the city's trade unions and communities can force back the ConDems and their cuts agenda, just as the Tories were defeated by Liverpool city council in the 1980s and by the 15 million-strong "can't pay won't pay" campaign that brought down the hated Poll Tax and eventually former prime minister Margaret Thatcher herself.

Plans to demonstrate at the council's emergency budget meeting at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday 15 July are now underway.

Contact us at if you would like more information or would like to help build for our next protest.