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(en) Anarchist Federation Scotland Autonomy #2 P1- Stirling council workers strike against pay cut + Bedroom Tax

Date Sat, 07 Sep 2013 09:55:16 +0300


Stirling council workers strike against pay cut ---- Stirling Council workers in UNISON were on a one-day strike on 27th August, in response to what would amount to an effective pay cut of 4.5%, to be imposed in November. The Labour-Tory coalition in charge has threatened workers with dismissal if new contracts, which require a 1.5% pay cut plus an extra hour per weeks work, aren't signed by individual workers. Whilst the GMB union at Stirling Council announced a ballot for industrial action on the same day and the smaller Unite and UCATT unions are also considering action, it looks like a united response has not been co-ordinated. If Stirling Council manage to successfully impose these new contracts then this will send out a message to other councils that an imposition of austerity can be got away with and it may be the beginning of a similar cuts across the country.

The support for
the strike on the day was
strong but council workers
that Autonomy spoke to in
the run up to the day of
action questioned whether
unified, cross-union action
would be forthcoming.
Certainly, without
concerted action involving
all workers at the Council,
regardless of union, the
administration will steam-
roller a workforce already
subjected to the salami-
tactics of the trade union
chiefs. Whether Labour-
affiliated union officials will
be willing to seriously
challenge their political pals
remains to be seen and it will
require rank and file
initiative to make sure that
the fightback isn't
undermined.

Bedroom Tax: Edinburgh Council continues ‘attacking disabled people’

Anti bedroom tax
campaigners from round
Lothians met in an
emergency meeting in
August and issued a
statement condemning City
of Edinburgh Council's policy
of quizzing people on their
expenditure on alcohol,
cigarettes and satellite TV
and using this information in
deciding whether to award
tenants Discretionary
Housing Payment. “This has
led to newspaper reports
portraying DHP claimants
as scroungers and wasters.
In fact research by the
Scottish Government and
COSLA reveals that at
least 80% of households
affected by the bedroom tax
contain disabled people,”
state the Lothian
Federation of Anti Bedroom
Tax Groups. “We believe
this policy is an incitement
to hatred against disabled
people – these questions
must be removed.”
“City of Edinburgh Council is
attacking people with severe
disabilities by unfairly
denying them
Discretionary Housing
Payments. The Council
is counting Disability
Living Allowance and
Personal Independence
Payment as income when
calculating if a claimant
needs DHP. This is
completely wrong.

DLA and PIP should be completely
disregarded as available income,
because it is paid to cover the
substantial extra costs incurred by
people with severe disabilities.”
Recently Bill Scott, manager of
Inclusion Scotland, described this
policy as “plainly
discriminatory” (Herald 16.8.13).

Faced by a challenge by disabled
claimants, Glasgow City Council
recently changed its decision and
disregarded DLA in such a DHP case.
The anti-bedroom tax federation
maintain that City of Edinburgh
Council must do the same.
“Councillor Cammy Day told north
Edinburgh campaigners on 17 June
that he disagreed with DLA being
counted for DHP purposes – this
needs changed now. This
discrimination against the disabled
must end.”

“Instead of attacking disabled
claimants the Council should be using
its powers to increase the amount
available for DHP by 2.5 times,” urge
the Lothians Anti Bedroom Tax
Federation. The Evening News
recently reported that 72% of
Edinburgh Council tenants hit by the
bedroom tax are in rent arrears.
“More, properly trained staff are
needed to make sure Discretionary
Payments reach all in need.”

The campaigners have further
charges. “City of Edinburgh Council
have admitted they are not assessing
claimants individually to check if they
are entitled to an exemption from the
Bedroom Tax. As a result the Council
hounded a disabled tenant for rent
arrears despite the fact that she had
overnight carers stay every night and
was thus exempt. Eventually this
tenant, Margaret, became so ill that
she had to give up her tenancy.”
“Despite the Council's welcome no
evictions policy, in other respects the
Labour-SNP administration seem to
be enthusiastically implementing this
totally unjust Tory/ LibDem
legislation,” say the Anti Bedroom
Tax Federation. “Extra staff are
being deployed to phone and harass
tenants about rent arrears. A
seriously ill disabled tenant who has
overnight carers on average 2-3 times
per week, has been refused an
exemption on the grounds that her
carers are not staying “regularly”.
We urge all who care about justice to
join with us in opposing this unfair
attack on the poor and disabled. ”
From the Lothian Federation of Anti-
Cuts Groups:
www.edinburghagainstcuts.org.uk

---------------------------------------

Autonomy is produced by
Anarchist Federation (AFed) Scot-
land. It aims to promote and link
together campaigns that empower
working class people and that
challenge capitalism and irrational
systems of power. We want to re-
port on positive, inspirational ex-
amples of struggle but also stories
which motivate us to act. We will
emphasize things happening in
Scotland and also report on events
in Britain, and around the world.
_________________________________________
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