We will fight cuts all the way, warn unions

Tuesday 20 April 2010
by Malcolm Burns in Dundee

The STUC has launched a vigorous campaign to defend Scotland’s public services from the cuts agenda being promoted by all main political parties.

The Scottish unions said they stood ready to convene an urgent post-election conference to co-ordinate joint action, up to and including industrial action, against post-election cuts.

Presenting a new 11-point charter for public services in Scotland, Unison Scottish secretary Matt Smith said: “The provision of decent sustainable public services lies at the very heart of a decent society.”

“Our services are threatened as never before – not because they have failed and not because they are unaffordable, but because of the activities of a greedy few who despise public provision.”

Mr Smith slammed an “emerging political consensus on the need for savage public spending cuts” and argued that the STUC was uniquely placed to build an alternative public consensus in support of public services.

“We are saying to the people of Scotland that we will not stand idly by while attempts are made to make us all pay for the greed and folly of the few.”

Lynn Henderson of PCS said that unions would battle together to “fight the orthodoxy of the CBI and the Taxpayers’ Alliance which says ‘cuts, cuts, cuts’.”

“Why should the workers pay for the pain of a recession they did not cause?” she asked. “Those responsible continue to cream off triple-figure salaries, bonuses and golden handshakes.”

RMT delegate Alex Gordon said that the consensus among political parties was not just a perverse accident.

“They want cuts to appease the same financial markets and credit ratings agencies which caused the crisis in the first place,” he said.

“The role of our trade unions is ever more important in protecting jobs, pay and services – whoever is in power after May 6.”

Congress endorsed the Public Services Charter, entitled People First, which was launched last week, as the basis of its campaign.

The Charter’s calls include no compulsory redundancies, an end to the council tax freeze, opposition to privatisation of council services, an end to PFI/PPP and the Scottish Futures Trust and renationalisation of Scottish railways.

From the Morning Star