Stuart Collins, the deputy leader of the Labour group on Croydon Council, has defended himself against a Tory attack over the recent public service strike. Councillor Collins has also criticised his own party leader, Ed Milliband.
The Labour party in Croydon disobeyed national party policy by supporting local industrial action. “I feel it is right to support unions when they are taking industrial action for a just cause,” said Collins, who is a public sector employee.
“If you sign a contract to work for someone and you do so for many years in the expectation that you’ll receive the pension you signed up to, it is wrong for that employer to change the contract, particularly for those who will not have enough time to make alternative arrangements,” Collins said.
“I expect the Labour leader does support the strike but is tactically deciding not to come out publicly because he fears a public backlash. I suggest that is a bad call because two-thirds of the public have recently said that they supported the strike and my view is if something is just then support it, don’t worry about those in the Tory media who are spreading myths about gold-plated pensions.”
Collins’ public stand saw him accused of being “unpatriotic” by a local Conservative councillor, Ian Parker. Parker, councillor for Coulsdon West, is the local Conservative party agent, the man who took the blame over failures to account properly for election expenses for Richard Ottaway and Gavin Barwell last year.
Parker’s lack of grasp of numbers was demonstrated again more recently when he seriously suggested that it would be more “patriotic” if Croydon’s trade unionists went shopping instead of striking, perhaps not realising that council workers facing wage cuts, threats to their pensions, and another round of job cuts, do not have the benefit of publicly funded expenses to pay for a Christmas shopping spree.
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