There was a productive meeting of the SE Region TUC Public Services Committee this morning, with the NUT - and many other public sector unions - well represented. The key focus was obviously how to build anti-cuts campaigns across the Region, especially publicising and building a turnout for the March 26th demonstration.
As an immediate focus, local trade unions and campaigners should make sure they have made plans for street stalls and stunts on the SERTUC day of Action on Saturday January 15th. SERTUC have produced a leaflet especially for use on the day.
In Lewisham, we'll be in Lewisham High Street from 11am with a baoard showing a map of Lewisham and highlighting where the cuts will be hitting local services, workers and residents. We'll be asking members of the public to add their examples too and publicising our Lewisham Anti-Cuts Carnival on Feb 19th.
They'll be plenty to campaign about locally:
* Lewisham Council are now saying that the devastating £60 Million cuts package that they have already announced might now have to go up as high as £87Million!
* As the NUT has warned, the Council have confirmed that the 'pupil premium' will not offset other cuts to school budgets - overall the schools budget will be down by over £1 Million
There were good reports from across the SERTUC Region of activities and events being organised, both in London boroughs and towns across the South-East. Unions were urged to co-ordinate locally to jointly book transport to the March 26th demonstration. There are also discussions about possible feeder marches from some London boroughs.
The meeting also discussed a range of developing public sector disputes, including the threat in several Authorities to worsen terms and conditions for council staff and, in particular, possible timescales for organising co-ordinated action on pensions. The UCU delegate confirmed that lecturers are definitely balloting for strike action on pensions at the end of the month and I reported that the NUT Executive will be making decisions about the action we might take at our meeting on January 20th.