Dundee Against Austerity joined a protest picket line at Kings Cross Hospital yesterday against a wide range of austerity cuts which have been announced by both the local council and Tayside Health Board, which recently announced it had accrued a major budget deficit. The group reported:
DAA introduced itself by handing out our leaflets and letting folks know that our Unite the Community branch was now up and running. It is our intention to broaden out our branch to support all protests and action against austerity — whether that means Health Service wage caps, budget cuts that affect all services and therefore the community. Unite the Community Tayside will be there!
People have been angered by a string of announcements and policy decisions in recent months by SNP council chiefs that, while blaming Tory austerity, are making severe budget cuts this year.
There has been fury over disclosures at a meeting early this month by Jim McFarlane of Dundee City Council Unison report that the head of the SNP administration had admitted: ‘If you think things have been bad, they are about to get ten times worse!’
Opposition councillors have said it is extremely difficult for even elected representatives to get clear information on what the cuts are going to entail.
But activist have said likely measures could include school closures, privatisations of council services and further reductions in local authority workers’ terms and conditions.
Speakers at the Action Against Austerity meeting argued that a battle of ideas over how local services were financed and defended was taking place while material reality for people worsened. Complete opposition to cuts and austerity was argued for and a call for all councillors to make a stand by refusing to pass Tory government cuts on was made.