Croydon’s trade unionists have issued a 10-point challenge to all candidates standing in the local elections next month, and presented their traditional allies in the Labour Party with a significant problem, daring them to oppose outright all further cuts in council services and to scrap the cabinet system of running the Town Hall, a policy which Labour introduced when last in control of the borough.
Croydon TUC is the body that represents trade unions and trade unionists in Croydon. It has a large number of members working for Croydon Council and other public sector employers, as well as the recently privatised Royal Mail, with its officers drawn from the PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union, and the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU).
Some of the Croydon TUC’s points ahead of the May 22 elections are already in the local Labour group’s policy – such as making the borough a “Living Wage” employer, and a wholesale review of the large number of council services which are expensively contracted out to private companies. It is not known whether the Conservatives running for Croydon Council would, or could, adopt any of the policies, since they have not published any borough-wide manifesto.
Certainly, the Tories have spent the past eight years hiding much of their spending and procurement behind claims that their contracts – particularly with John Laing over the controversial CCURV development joint venture – are “commercially confidential”, refusing to release details of potentially hundreds of millions of pounds-worth of public spending.
The call to scrap cabinet council echoes the policy of UKIP, recently aired on Inside Croydon, in which they called for the end of the cosy cabal of just 10 senior councillors that determines council policy.
The Croydon TUC also calls for the ending of councillor “allowances”, the quasi-salaries paid to Croydon’s 70 elected councillors, now amounting to more than £1.4 million per year. Under the present system, some councillors are paid more than £50,000 a year, fees “which exceed the average earnings of those who voted for them”, the TUC says. The trades unionists want part-time councillors to be reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses and to receive compensation for lost earnings lost – although this sounds very much like the present allowances scheme.
The Croydon TUC’s “10 key policies” owe much to the work of one of their members, Peter Latham, who is also standing in the local elections – for the Communist Party.
The 10 points are:
- Oppose all further cuts in services
- Oppose all further contracting out of services and bring back as soon as possible all those services already contracted out
- Pay the London Living Wage to all directly employed staff and insist on this being a condition in any remaining contracted out services
- Oppose zero hours contracts and non-payment of travel time to staff employed by the Council and its sub-contractors
- Call for complete transparency in any remaining contracted out services – all contacts to be published with nothing restricted or redacted on grounds of so called “commercial confidentiality”
- Call for more and better council housing, better control and regulation of private landlords, an end to locating Croydon’s homeless in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation and outside the borough and a prohibition on all evictions due to non-payment of the bedroom tax
- Oppose all sales of council houses and other council assets that benefit the community
- Support our local schools still under democratic, local government control and oppose the introduction of any more academies and free schools
- Call for enhanced local government democracy in which our elected councillors collectively take the decisions.
- Call for councillors to receive an expense allowance and reasonable compensation for loss of earnings rather than salaries, many of which exceed the average earnings of those who voted for them.
- Council allowances and local politicians’ secret consensus
- What Barwell fails to tell you and the myths of Council Tax
- Time to close Croydon Council’s Private Members’ Club
Coming to Croydon
- Norwood Society Talk: Crystal Palace, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- Opening of Marlpit Lane bowling and putting greens, Apr 17
- Arts and Crafts Market, Exchange Square, Apr 19
- Private Peaceful, Charles Cryer Theatre, Apr 23-26
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Stop The Incinerator Beer and Bingo fund-raiser, Apr 28
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 72,342 average monthly page views (Jan-Mar 2014)
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