By Brian Smith - Glasgow Unison branch secretary 2nd Sept 2010
Working class people across Scotland face the most sustained attack in generations as the ConDem government, the other main parties and the bosses seek to make us pay for their economic crisis.
Almost £2 billion in real terms is to be axed from the Scottish budget next year alone. And up to £4 billion over the following three years.
The proposed cuts will severely hit local council services that protect and support children, older people and the disabled. Cuts in NHS jobs will see hundreds of nurses and midwives lost.
So called “preventative services” such as community work, youth services, carers support groups and community facilities will be lost forever if these butchers get their way. Services labelled as “non-statutory” like sports centres and libraries face closure.
Workers in our public services will be asked to do more as those who leave are not replaced - whilst at the same time facing attacks on their own wages, conditions and pensions.
All working class families face a rise in the cost of living with inflation over 4% and the VAT rise still to come.
Those on benefits are to be targeted once again with yet more restrictions placed on disabled support and housing benefit. Other benefits will be cut or frozen and means tested. Young people face horrendous odds of finding decent paid permanent employment whilst those in higher education face cuts in student support.
Build a mass demo on October 23rd
Workers, trade unionists and socialists need to step-up the fight back. It is crucial that the STUC demo on 23 October is built for in every workplace and community.
The 23 October has the potential to be the largest working class protest for decades, coming as it does days after the ConDem coalition Comprehensive Spending Review which will announce yet more brutal cuts.
Local anti-cuts campaigns that aim to unite public service workers, community organisations, young people and the wider working class must be launched in every corner of Scotland.
The Scottish Parliament and local councils should set “needs budgets” that protect services rather than cuts that will reduce services. Unfortunately, the politicians, dominated by the SNP and New Labour, seem intent on making the overall level of cuts asked of them by the ConDem Government. This would represent a direct attack on jobs, wages, conditions and services which the trade unions could never agree to.
The public sector trade unions must prepare an industrial action campaign to defend services and the current level of public spending in Scotland, beginning with a one-day Scottish public sector strike in early 2011.
This article is carried in the new issue of the Socialist - The paper of the Socialist Party Scotland.To subscribe email \n