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

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Birmingham shows why community organising is essential

Birmingham's Tory led council has drawn up £320m worth of cuts over four years, with £212m - 71 per cent of the reductions to be made in the 12 months from this April. It plans to cut 7,000 jobs in an unprecedented scaling down of council services which UNISON has described as social vandalism.

Roger McKenzie UNISON AGS (and former West Midlands regional secretary) says that unions campaigns to resist the cuts must go well beyond the ranks of union members: He told the Morning star that unions need to "find more imaginative ways" to prevent themselves being pushed into legal corners "there is an increasing demand for a much more instant response to services closing down than time-consuming bureaucratic balloting.

"At UNISON we currently have 30 industrial disputes which we are dealing with, but by the time a ballot of workers at a community centre is done, the centre may have been closed.

"We are in the arena again where imaginative campaigning and new strategies will be key to our success in defeating the cuts, Relationships between communities and trade unions are so crucial in fighting the Con-Dems but these relationships must be maintained. We can't simply fight bush fires - all the different struggles are and have to be linked."