Socialists and trade union activists in the North East are circulating this open letter, as a way of helping to bring together an anti-cuts coalition in the region.

may day in Newcastle 2010Building resistance to the cuts and job losses – an open letter

The ConDem coalition government presents its spending cuts as both justifiable and unavoidable. Prime Minister David Cameron is doing his best to convince us that we should quietly acquiesce to a cuts programme that will affect “our whole way of life.”

We are told that we have to ‘rebalance the economy away from a reliance on government jobs’ and we are ‘too dependent on the public sector for jobs.’

We keep getting told we are all in this together and should therefore share the burden. But the financial crisis was the fault of the bankers, and the politicians who deregulated the financial sector to allow them free rein. When in trouble, the banks received generous bailouts to the tune of a staggering £850bn.

We are not ‘too dependent on the public sector for jobs’. These jobs are vital to the functioning of our society. We cannot afford to see them slashed and our public services weakened beyond repair.

We reject the idea that working class people must pay for a crisis they didn’t create. We reject the current blind acceptance that “we’re all in this together” and that we – and that always means ordinary working people, of course, not the rich – have to accept changes that will affect “our whole way of life.”

Workers in Greece, Spain and elsewhere are already showing that it is possible to fight back. We need similar resistance in Britain. We call for a coalition of trade unionists, campaigners, community groups and public service users to campaign for a different set of priorities to that imposed by this bankers’ coalition.

We should collectively tell the bankers and the ConDem coalition that we can’t pay for their crisis – and we won’t pay for it.

Dipu Ahad (Labour councillor, Newcastle), Kevin Alderson (Green Party member), Dave Anderson MP (Labour), Paul Baker (retired Unison member), Trevor Bark (IWW, Mayday), Steve Brown (Labour Representation, Committee Regional Coordinator), Michael Cudlip (North Tyneside UNISON), Tony Dabb (NUT rep), Alan Docherty (Unison member), Tony Dowling (membership secretary, Gateshead NUT), Gavin Dudley (GMB rep), Shirley Ford (Coordinator of NE Green Party, and Unison), Vicki Gilbert (NASUWT), Diane Green, (retired UCU member), Pauline Hammerton (Unison), Anna Heyman (Green Party and UCU member), Paula Holland (curriculum manager, Adult Learning Alliance), Fazia Hussain (Regional Officer, Unite the Union), Jim Hutchinson (retired NUT member), Martin Levy (Chair, Northern Region UCU), Norman Maines (Unite the Union), Tom May (Lecturer, Newcastle College UCU), Peter T Murray (South Tyneside Local Government UNISON Branch Officer), Neil O’Brien (Secretary, Sunderland Welfare Action Group), Ian Pattison (Unite the Union), Tony Pierre (Unison rep), Gwen Potter, Barry Purdy (Unite the Union), Les Rich (IWW and CWU), Yvonne Ridley, (European President, International Muslim Women’s Union), Rizwan Sheikh (Newcastle Unison), Alex Snowdon (NUT member), David Stead (Asst Secretary, Tyneview Park PCS), Nigel Todd (Labour councillor, Newcastle), Mark Tyers (Unison member), Alison Whalley (Green Party member), John Whalley (Green Party member), Steve Whitley (retired union member), Katherine M Yarrow (Unison rep) (All in personal capacity).

Alex Snowdon

Alex Snowdon is a Counterfire activist in Newcastle. He is active in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and the National Education Union.​ He is the author of A Short Guide to Israeli Apartheid (2022).