Here is the audio from the meeting. there are of course the rousing speeches from the top table made with genuine fire, there was also the messy democracy bit after that as we tried get to grips with structure and focus. It remains to be seen how the alliance will opreate, orgainsie and act but there is a massive chance to turn this into the a total nightmare for the rulling class on the scale of the poll tax and more.
Keep an eye out for meetings, come along as everyone has speaking rights, talk and organise at work in, your neighbourhoods and at school.
Wednesday 24th November
Over 300 trade unionists, students, pensioners, tenants and concerned citizens from all over Sheffield packed into a meeting room at Novotel last night (Wednesday 24th November) to launch “Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance”.
Martin Mayer from UNITE and Treasurer of Sheffield Trades Council took the Chair. He said “This ConDem Government’s vicious public spending cuts will hit workers, students, the poor and unemployed, tenants and pensioners. In fact all ordinary people will be affected except the rich and powerful who caused the crisis yet who will get off scot free. The trade union movement is committed to fighting the cuts – but we cannot do this alone. That’s why we need to create a broad alliance in which all those who oppose the cuts can join together and make our mark”
Marion Lloyd from PCS the civil service union explained how her members are concerned not just about their jobs – several hundred civil service jobs are threatened in Sheffield alone – but also about the vital public services they provide which face the axe. That’s why her union was a prime mover in setting up this Alliance. “These spending cuts are not necessary and we must fight them,” she said. “What do they mean there’s no alternative? Of course there’s an alternative! There is an estimated £120B uncollected in tax in each year due to tax loopholes, blatant tax avoidance and simply the Government’s failure to collect the tax due to it from rich individuals and big business”
Ben Morris from Right to Work, which has already successfully mobilised young people, students and trade unionists in rallies and demonstrations against the cuts, said he was delighted and amazed at the turnout to the meeting which exceeded everyone’s expectations. Also a prime mover in setting up the Alliance, he said “Solidarity and support for those fighting back against the cuts is one of the Alliance’s major tasks. Today’s march by students was tremendous with over 3000 young people, black and white, Somali, Chinese marching shoulder to shoulder on Sheffield’s streets. There’s real anger out there, not just about education cuts and the betrayal of Nick Clegg and the Liberals on tuition fees, but against all the ConDem Government’s cuts. We need to build a massive resistance here in Sheffield and make sure literally thousands of us travel down to London to join the TUC national demonstration against the cuts on 26th March.”
The meeting debated a vital democratic structure for Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance which will be inclusive and ensure the involvement of trade unions and other concerned organisations as well as individuals who have no organisation to represent them. A Steering Committee is to be set up which will be made up of representatives of all organisations taking part in the alliance. The meeting agreed not just to fight against cuts in public services and public sector job losses, but also cuts in welfare benefits including cuts in support for the disabled, the unemployed and crucially the massive cuts in housing benefit support which will hit all tenants in council and private sector housing across Sheffield.
The first Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance Steering Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday 14th December at a venue to be confirmed. A major public meeting will be held in the New Year. Street stalls will be set up, a website is being worked on, and protests will be organised wherever the spending cuts hit Sheffield.
Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance