Bolton Council to make £39m cuts

Bolton TUC vow to fight every cut

Bolton TUC understands that Bolton Council’s Chief executive has written to our recognised trade unions regarding a shortfall of over £37m in the 2021/2022 financial year with a further £2m in the following year.

This is the worst possible news for the people of Bolton which comes on the back of 10 years of austerity and as we have just moved into Tier 3.

There can be few savings to be had from Bolton’s budgets without hitting the most vulnerable with any job loses further impacting upon the towns shrinking economy and we call upon parliament to find the funds that we need to make up this shortfall. 

Nationally we have seen billions of pounds of our taxpayers money wasted on failed contracts pushed through under special powers without any due diligence whatsoever

In the last week we heard from Mark Logan the MP for Bolton NE that the Prime minister has Bolton’s back and we call upon Mr Logan alongside the other 2 Bolton MPs to contact the PM and insist that central government meets this £39m shortfall.

Should they fail in these efforts we invite all three MP’s to meet with Bolton TUC to develop a strategy to save the services and jobs from any cuts

To those who find their occupations at risk the local trade unions will support you, Bolton Council have very effective recognised trade unions in Unison, GMB and Unite and they will work tirelessly to protect your jobs

Those of you that are not in a Trade Union should join one today

For those of you that feel this will impact upon you negatively then we welcome you to contact us, your local councillor and MP before anyone makes a decision to make budget cuts they must be fully aware of the consequences of their decision   

No School meals…

National Education Union joint general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney called on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to adopt the NEU’s policy proposals to tackle child poverty.

This was based upon new research published by the End Child Poverty coalition shows the shocking reality of child poverty in the UK, even before the further impacts of Covid and recession. Our big cities continue to have very high rates of child poverty – particularly London and Birmingham – whilst the North East of England has experienced the greatest rises in child poverty since 2014/15. 

The analysis, in a report commissioned by the End Child Poverty coalition, shows that here in Bolton in 2014/15 just over 32% of children aged 16 and under were living in families with low incomes and that has risen by 6% to 39% in 2018 / 19 we can only wonder what that figure will now be under a pandemic.

The plight of children going hungry is one that Marcus Rashford has taken the government to task over recently urging his 3.4 million Twitter followers to lobby MPs to back his campaign which was taken up by Labour’s motion calls for the scheme to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021.

The Labour party’s analysis showed that nearly one million children living in areas subject to Tier 2 and Tier 3 corona virus restrictions are set to lose access to free school meals over the coming holidays.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “This vote is about our values as a country and whether the government, in the middle of this crisis, is happy to let our children go hungry.  “Millions of families up and down the country are facing a bleak winter of real hardship as the furlough scheme is withdrawn and further restrictions are put in place without proper support for businesses, jobs and livelihoods.”

The government had previously bowed to pressure and extended meals over the summer holidays, but whipped Tory MPs to defeat the motion by 322 votes to 261 a majority of 61 showing their promise of levelling up to be nothing more than hot air with Bolton MPs voting

Members voting ‘aye’ (in favour of the Labour motion)

Yasmin Qureshi – Labour (Bolton South East) 

Members voting ‘no’ (against the Labour motion)

Mark Logan – Conservative (Bolton North East)  

Chris Green – Conservative (Bolton West)  

Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon announced the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, which is an additional payment of £10 per child per week for low income families.

Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will attend the High Court to bring a judicial review that could extend health and safety rights to hundreds of thousands of “gig economy” and frontline workers.

The union says Covid-19 has made workers’ rights a public health issue. If successful, the judicial review would force the Government to extend health and safety protections to all ‘workers’ including hundreds of thousands in the so-called “gig economy”. (2)

Many of these workers, including Uber drivers and parcel couriers (1), were designated ‘key workers’ by the government during the first wave of Covid-19. Victory for the union would win them all a legal right to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to take legal action against employers who dismiss them for refusing work in dangerous conditions.

Henry Chango Lopez, president, IWGB says: “During the first wave we stepped out our front doors every Thursday to applaud key workers for the vital work they were doing, risks taken for all of us. Meanwhile, the government turned a blind eye as gig economy companies cut corners on health and safety. As a second wave approaches, it’s time for us all to stand by our frontline and demand basic protections for those going out to work each day to get us through this crisis.”

Mengistu Jabir, private hire driver and chair, IWGB UPHD branch, says: “It’s impossible for us to get PPE and when a passenger refuses to wear a mask or sit in the back seat and I say something, I’m risking my job if I speak up. Uber have always treated us like second class citizens. Now its refusal to take responsibility is putting lives at risk.”

Dr. Hina Shahid, chair, Muslim Doctors Association says: “The rights, health and safety of precarious workers have long been ignored and undervalued. Now these workers, many of them low paid, migrant and BAME workers, are on the frontlines of this pandemic and protecting them is the only way to protect ourselves. Covid-19 connects us like never before.”

The IWGB is arguing that the UK Government failed in its obligation to transpose health and safety directives from EU law into UK law. Whereas UK health and safety law only protects employees, EU law extends these protections to all those classified as workers. This law applies until the end of the Brexit transition period and the government has repeatedly promised to retain EU derived employment rights into the future. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has joined as a second defendant to the proceedings, alongside the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The Health and Safety Executive has also been added as an interested party.

The IWGB has launched a crowdfunder to cover the potential cost liabilities, which the judge has now capped to £4,500. The union is represented by Ijeoma Omambala QC and Cyril Adjei of Old Square Chambers and Kate Harrison and Harry Campbell of Harrison Grant LLP.