UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

We cannot allow the future of our young people to be thrown away

Unions were made for times like these and Kenny Bell's rousing speech to the Northern Public Services Alliance yesterday showed just why. Focussing on the human cost of the cuts, mounting a rallying cry for services, engaging and defending the future of young people and calling for unions, workers, families and communities to stand together against the onslaught, he said Cameron would regret the attacks because "we, united, will win". Read more here and see a video of the speech at http://www.unison-northern.co.uk/ or at http://www.youtube.com/user/NorthernUNISON#p/a/u/1/-FCwN4RS9pQ

Kenny, Branch Secretary of UNISON Newcastle City Branch and UNISON Deputy Regional Convenor, said, "We sent an email out to our members asking them how many people in the family worked in public services.  Hundreds replied.... We had some where eight to ten of family members all work in the public sector - all worrying whether they are going to have a job tomorrow. And that is the reality of what these cuts mean.

"It's about services, but it's about people's wellbeing, and it's about families and it's about communities - and it's about young people... We cannot allow the future of our young people to be thrown away", said Kenny.

“The 7.1% annual cut in council budgets means in reality that the Government’s estimate of 30% cut over 4 years will be greater than 30%. In addition to a freeze on council tax for 4 years and additional pension costs means that local authorities will probably be required to make double the savings previously anticipated.

"The largest part of local authority financing is in staffing which represents 80% of their budget. This clearly will have very serious implications for local authority workers,” Kenny explained.

“This Government continues to attack the most vulnerable. Limiting sickness benefit to 12 months will have a major impact on our manual workers who have to retire on the grounds of ill health towards the end of their working lives and fear that they will not be employable with increases in the unemployed and the extension of the pension age to 66.”

And Cameron was wrong to say we are all in it together.

"But he's right that we, public sector workers, families communities on Tyneside and throughout the region; the working class, trade unionists - we're in this together. And he's (Cameron) is going to regret it because we, united, will win".

"We don't need to slash and burn. The way to get out of this recession, to reduce the deficit, is through growth, through creating jobs, creating employment", said Kenny