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STUC 2011



Be bold in the defence of our public services

Mike Kirby
Mike Kirby
Stephen Smellie
Stephen Smellie
Ismail Donmez
Ismail Donmez
The STUC will build the widest possible alliance to popularise an alternative economic strategy and to fight the cuts.

Building on the witness of civic society in yesterday's special session of Congress, and calling for the next step for the 'Better Way' campaign, Mike Kirby urged delegates to "be bold in the defence of our public services".

The cuts we are facing across the UK were "not about money but about politics", said Mike, moving the composite from the General Council, Unite, PCS, SSTA, FBU, UNISON, Black Workers, Clydebank TUC, UCU and the RMT.

"A politics that hates public services and loves to profit from privatisation. A politics that sees a workforce engaged in caring and educating not as an achievement to be celebrated but as a problem to be tackled", he added.

The October and March massive public protests in Edinburgh and London showed the growing anger against attacks on jobs services and welfare state.

These were "ideological measures which attack the very welfare state and welfare systems which the social consensus since the second world war has built over generations", said Mike. The government does not have massive support for what they are doing, Mike pointed out, and there was an opportunity and a need to build the widest campaign against these cuts.

"We have to be a campaign not of this or that group of members against cuts, or trade unions versus the government - but a campaign that shows that these cuts are an attack not on unions, or workers, but on society - big or otherwise.

As many speakers have pointed out at this Congress, the debt was much higher in 1948 but we could still set up the NHS then. "As for the size of the deficit", added Mike, "It amounts to only half the wealth of the 1000 richest people in Britain".

UNISON's Stephen Smellie called for union to ensure public authorities met their responsibility to carry out full equality, social and economic impact assessments to show the real effect of their decisions.

"Cuts will fall disproportionately on black workers, women and disabled people both in the workplace and the community", he warned.

Black Worker's rep Ismail Donmez underlined the point and slammed David Cameron's claim that 'multiculturalism has failed'.

It would be easy at a time when "workers across Scotland are feeling insecure about their own jobs for racism to grow", he warned. "It is very important that as trade unionists we do not allow this to happen".

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