Today’s (Tuesday 16 February) strike action by Unite members working in the children’s early intervention service for Oxfordshire county council has had solid support, as hundreds of protesters joined strikers on the picket line in protest at plans to slash frontline services.
The strike action comes as Oxfordshire councillors prepare to vote on proposals to cut £69 million from the council's 2016/17 budget.
Unite members voted overwhelmingly for strike action over the council’s plans to shut all of its 44 children centres and seven early intervention (EIS) hubs, including in prime minister David Cameron’s Witney constituency.
The prime minister’s own mother, Mary Cameron along with his aunt Clare, have joined the fight to stop the Tory’s ‘brutal’ cuts, with Mary signing a petition to save dozens of the county’s children’s centres, and Clare describing the cuts as a ‘big mistake.’
Chris Gray, Unite regional officer, said: “Today hundreds of protesters have joined our members to speak out against Oxfordshire wrecking its children’s service and to the council’s damaging cuts. Now we need our councillors to listen and vote ‘no’ to these brutal cuts.
"Day in and day out our members work with young people, children and their families living in poverty, fighting addiction or loneliness. Where will they go when the council pulls the plug on the vital services they rely on?
“The council’s plans to provide only statutory levels of care are insufficient and short-sighted. Problems left to escalate will become more complex and entrenched, and therefore expensive. By helping young people, children and their families early, these services protect them from more costly interventions like mental health and NHS services, and prison.
“We are urging the council not to turn its back on the county’s young people, not now, not ever. Even the prime minister’s own mother understands the damage these cuts will inflict on future generations.
“Our message is simple; vote ‘no’ to these brutal cuts and find an alternative solution.”
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777
Note to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey