Saturday, 13 November 2010

Lambeth Living worker: why we walked out on management

By a Lambeth Living worker

At the Lambeth Living (Lambeth Council's housing 'Arms Length Management Organisation') staff conference on 8 November there was a lot of anger and nervousness at the announcement of job cuts. Staff were especially angry that directors on salaries of over 100k year and consultants on thousands of pounds a month would announce to staff that they would be sacked at a hall in London Bridge costing £9000 to hire.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Building an anti-cuts movement in Lambeth

An interview with Dan Jeffery, Assistant Branch Secretary of Lambeth UNISON, originally printed in the Solidarity newspaper. Dan was speaking in a personal capacity.

How did Lambeth Save Our Services begin, and how has it developed?

Save Our Services initially came out of Lambeth UNISON, GMB, NUT and UCU thinking there needed to be an anti-cuts campaign in the face of the huge cuts from both the Tory/Lib Dem government and the local Labour council. We then got various community groups and activists to come on board, produced 10,000 newsletters for the Lambeth Country Show and have organised several anti-cuts demos and lobbies. This resulted in saving over 50 jobs and stopping union-busting in the One O’Clock clubs and Adventure Playgrounds. We are now trying to stop the housing ALMO, Lambeth Living, cutting up to a fifth of its staff, including all the caretakers and much of the front-line services.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

What it would mean for Labour councils to defy cuts

In many areas Labour councillors say they will "fight the cuts" - but also implement them!

They say they have no choice. In fact they can and should use their council positions as platforms to mobilise to defy the cuts.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Lambeth Save Our Services action meeting, 25 August

Lambeth Save Our Services - next Action meeting

Wednesday 25 August 2010
Room 29, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton

The millionaire government is taking an axe to much needed public services and attempting to take away our welfare state.

They are cutting:

* At least 25% from councils which provide vital services like housing, libraries, parks, day centres and much more
* Benefits for the poor, parents and the elderly
* School building programmes and services for children

We call on Labour councils to stand with us to fight Tory cuts not implement them!

We are a broad based campaign bringing together community groups, trade unions, pensioners and Lambeth residents to fight have every job cut and every service cut.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Pakistan disaster - support the Labour Relief Campaign!

The number of people affected by the floods in Pakistan has now reached 20 million. More than 650,000 houses have collapsed, mainly in villages. Thousands of hectares of crops have been destroyed, along with people's livestock, household goods, clothes, shoes and other essential items. Millions are without drinkable water, food, shelter and clothing. Diseases like flu, fever, diarrhea and cholera are spreading fast.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Save Our Services wins first victory

By a UNISON and SOS activist

About twenty people attended the second Lambeth Save our Services planning meeting on 5 August - not bad considering it's the dead of summer.

The meeting started with good news. After the brilliant campaign led up by the UNISON members in One O'Clock clubs all of the jobs in Adventure Playgrounds and One O'Clock Clubs have been saved. (The council was sacking them and creating new jobs because, even though it saved no money, it could break up the union and prepare the way for future cuts.) As one of the women said at the meeting: "We've got 100% union density - we know they'll be back for us". Nonetheless a good start to the SOS campaign - and evidence, if more was needed, that struggle can win.

We agreed at the meeting:

• To lobby the next full council meeting and demand the right to speak. There was about a hundred people at the last lobby and it made it into the South London Press.
• To produce a regular bulletin.
• To hold weekend and lunchtime stalls.
• To arrange weekends where we go out on mass and go door to door on the bigger council estates trying to get people involved in the campaign.
• To hold a public meeting on 29 September.
• To consider the tactic of occupations.
• To write something about New Labour's "cooperative council" and what it really means.
• To organise a petition along along the lines of Labour councils off you knees (Labour councils should refuse to implement cuts).
• Get effected workers to local Labour Party meetings to argue against implementing the cuts.
• Join up with campaigns in other boroughs, especially those with Labour Councils.

Councillor Kingsley Abrams attended and talked about the need to realise that the campaign will have to take on Steve Reed and his concern that deals will be done between the unions and the Labour council which could undermine SOS. He's a councillor who was recently thrown out of the Labour Group, after a bizarre sting operation, arranged by the leader of the council and the chief exec, in which he leaked information to Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey.

Ted Knight echoed the point that we would have to fight the Labour Councillors as well as giving an inspiring and slightly fictitious account of his time in as Leader of Lambeth (since he did, in fact, cave in and make cuts).

At the first meeting we set the overarching principles of the campaign as "Fight Every Job Cut and Every Service Cut. Make Labour Councils Fight Cuts Don't Re-brand Them".

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

No cuts! Lobby Lambeth council's cabinet, 26 July

A hundred people lobbied against cuts in Children and Young People's Services in Lambeth on 19 July. A report is included below. Next week, we need an even bigger protest: join trade unionists, service-users and community activists protesting to the council's cabinet against their plans for cuts in services and jobs!

6.30pm, Monday 26 July
Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton (bottom of Acre Lane, a few minutes from Brixton tube)

A hundred workers, council tenants, parents, service-users and pensioners protested outside Lambeth council's 'Children and Young People's Scrutiny Committee', at very short notice, on 19 July. (Children and Young People's Services are the sharp end of the Labour council's cuts program, set to lose £20 million over two years.) About seventy went in to the Town Hall and gave the committee - who are obviously not used to being scrutinised themselves! - a very hard time indeed.