Thursday 9 April 2015

Solidarity with Bromley UNITE strikers battling cuts and privatisation

As a trade unionist standing in the General Election in a constituency that includes parts of the borough of Bromley, I have valued the support that our campaign has had from individual members of Bromley TUC. In turn, I have attended a number of Lobbies at Bromley Council to support UNITE and UNISON members battling against cuts, privatisation and attacks on their union facility time.

On April 7 & 8, hundreds of Bromley UNITE members took two days of strike action against the Tory council’s cuts, privatisation of services and attacks on union facilities. I sent a message of solidarity to these local workers in struggle.

A report of the action is included in the latest bulletin from the National Shop Stewards Network quoted here too:

At the strike rally, Unite lead rep Kathy Smith spoke alongside the union’s regional officer Onay Kasab. Unison branch secretary Glenn Kelly who along with other unison members who refused to cross the picket line told the strikers that today he was expecting his request to ballot the 1000 unison members to take action alongside the unite members to ensure united action that can defeat the council.

Onay Kasab said: “Our overall campaign calls for a Fair Deal for Local Government and this strike will highlight what will happen to local government if the Tories are returned to power at the general election – a race to the bottom for services and the pay of council workers.

“Unite is drawing a line in the sand against privatisation and austerity in local government. Council services should be for the public good – and not as a cash cow for the private companies benefiting from lucrative outsourcing contracts.

“In Bromley, the company looking to take over parks is owned by a hedge fund – and they will be planning more than a bit of light pruning. They will do what hedge funds are set up to do; they will cut to the bone then scuttle away from the contract with a substantial profit.

“The people of Bromley have spoken – they do not want services privatised, as shown by our library survey– they don’t want libraries and parks run by quick-rich spivs and speculators.”

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