Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Rumble at Southwark council cuts meeting

Ruling Labour councillors in Southwark provoked protests in the public gallery this evening by voting down a Tory-Lib Dem motion to allow unions and groups facing cuts to address the budget meeting.
Shouts of "shame", "where's the democracy" and "why should we listen to you if you won't listen to us" rang out.
I was on the front row with a friend from the trade union-backed Southwark Save Our Services campaign.
We had intended to unfurl our "No to all cuts" banner during the budget vote. But this seemed like the moment so we lowered it over the balcony.
After a minute or so it was grabbed by security.
There was a tug of war with police and council security. We let them have the banner when they threatened to clear the whole balcony - which was packed with people from local voluntary groups and statutory bodies facing big cuts.
At this point the mayor ordered the removal of a black female local Unison officer from the council chamber.
Most of the shouting and unfurling had been done by white people.
We left in solidarity and nicked back our banner on the way out.
Later a small group tried to push into the building and some of us got in but security reinforcements were summoned to chuck us out.
Earlier a rally of about 100 people had heard speakers from Unison, PCS, Southwark Trade Union Council and speech therapists in the Unite union who were on strike earlier this month over job cuts.
Cut will devastate services in the poor south east London borough.

1 comment:

  1. Shame indeed - are any of these councils actually going to take a stand against these cuts? If all the Labour-run councils in the country just refused to set a budget what would happen? We have a Lib Dem-Tory majority on our council - all the Labour members voted against the cuts but you could say that is easy enough for them to do when the majority are going to vote for them and pass them anyway. They need to be doing more to force more money from the govt