Haringey March for Public Services – report
June 27, 2011
Haringey Alliance for Public Services held a lively and powerful demonstration on Saturday June 25th to oppose public service cuts. Over 250 local residents and workers marched from the Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green, via Turnpike Lane and Seven Sisters, to Tottenham Town Hall. A wide range of community and trade union organisations attended with their own banners and placards, with a particularly large contingent of parents and children from Children’s Centres. Marchers stopped on the route for speeches and a chorus of noise outside many key sites which are under threat of closure. The march finished with a rally and speeches outside Tottenham Town Hall.
It was the first such major local protest since the half-a-million-strong national anti-cuts demonstration on the 26th March. It was also timed to flag up the largest strike day for years on Thursday June 30th when 750,000 members of four public sector unions will be taking industrial action throughout Haringey, London and the UK to oppose cuts to pension agreements and cuts to public services generally: marchers distributed 4,000 leaflets on the route calling for support for the strikes.
The local residents and workers on the march demonstrated their support for the continuing protests against local cuts. These cuts will hit the most vulnerable the hardest – those on low incomes, single parents, migrant communities, women, elderly and disabled people. And all workers face attacks on pay and conditions because of rising inflation and a wage freeze.
‘The Government’s assault on public services must be contrasted with the massive public subsidies given by the Government to the irresponsible banking sector, and the blind eye being turned to over £100billion of corporate tax avoidance. We condemn the cuts programme as unfair, unacceptable and unneccesary, and call for the cuts to be reversed and all public services to be properly funded. In addition we welcome the mass public sector strikes this Thursday as a key step forward in the growing fightback against this Government’s policies.’ Simon Hester – Secretary, Haringey Trades Union Council
Route of the march
1 Haringey Civic Centre Councillors voted through £41m of government-driven cuts this year. Scene of regular anti-cuts protests over the last year.
2 Wood Green Bus Garage Transport for London making huge cuts to London’s public transport.
3 Wood Green tube station Tubes also face cuts, including to ticket office staffing. RMT union members have taken regular industrial action to defend services, jobs and working conditions.
4 Station Road Council offices Many jobs lost and services under threat.
5 Gladstone Rd, Noel Park Route into Noel Park council housing estate. The Govt. has just cut £50m off Haringey’s ‘decent homes’ refurbishment program. Like most areas of the borough there’s an active Residents Association.
6 Wood Green Library After lobbying by library Friends groups there are to be no library closures. But there’s pressure on opening hours, staffing & resources.
7 Lloyds TSB Bank Protestors have recently occupied this and other banks in the High Road to highlight their role in causing the economic crisis, being bailed out by taxpayers, then paying their board members huge bonuses.
8 Alexandra Road Crisis Unit Support service for those with mental health issues, facing closure.
9 Turnpike Lane tube station and bus garage Transport for London making huge cuts to London’s public transport.
10 Ducketts Common Recent major improvements following efforts by Friends group. However, parks department now face 50% cut in staffing & maintenance.
11 Asian Action Group centre Like most ‘third sector’ organisations, face a battle to survive due to grant cuts, despite Govt. claims to favour the ‘big society’.
12 Haringey Local Government UNISON HQ 4,000 union members. Mass meetings have voted to defend job conditions and to back HAPS.
13 Citizen’s Advice Bureau Facing job cuts, but needed more than ever.
14 Willoughby Road Older People’s Drop In Centre This and other similar centres facing closure. Lobbying and protests continue.
15 Milton Road council housing estate As noted above, the Government has cut £50m off Haringey’s ‘decent homes’ refurbishment programme.
16 West Green Road former Post Office Closed by the last Government, like many local Post Offices, despite mass protests and petitioning.
17 Red House Older People’s Home This and 3 other similar homes facing closure. Lobbying and protests continue.
18 West Green Primary School Support services for Haringey schools are being slashed. Teachers will take part in the national pensions strike, June 30th.
19 Woodlands Park Children’s Centre [Just off the route] Cuts to children’s centres have created a storm of objections and protest, and the Council has been forced to suspend and ‘review’ the plans.
20 + 21 GP surgery [Opposite Black Boy Lane] St Ann’s Hospital [Just off the route] There have been years of underfunding for Haringey’s NHS services – £20m shortfall this year – and also increasing privatisation threats. St Ann’s Hospital, Haringey’s only such site, is being run down and threatened with land sell-off. Hundreds of residents have attended recent NHS protest meetings and events.
22 Park View Academy Support services for Haringey schools are being slashed. Teachers will take part in the national strike on June 30th.
23 Downhills Park Recent improvements following efforts of Friends group. However, parks department now face 50% cut (£1m) in staffing & maintenance.
24 Fountain Pub Historic community pub saved from being turned into flats after a successful community campaign. One of many locally-contested sites.
25 West Green Road Post Office Post Offices & Royal Mail are facing more cuts & privatisation threats. CWU Union members have voted for strike action.
26 Wards Corner The whole area, including the famous Latin American indoor market, threatened with demolition and redevelopment by a property developer. Huge community coalition/campaign has successfully defended the area and have created a Community Plan for renewal of the area.
27 Body Music Historic community venue saved after protest campaign to oppose plans for betting shop.
28 Apex House Council’s Customer Service Centre under pressure due to other such centres facing closure. Also site of the Homelessness Service – the Government is attacking housing rights and benefits, which will lead to massive increases in homelessness.
29 CONEL College The Government has slashed staffing levels and courses, especially English language classes. UCU union members there recently voted to strike, which forced the College to drop threats for compulsory redundancies. Staff are due to join the national pensions strike on June 30th.
30 Bernie Grant Arts Centre Creative centre struggling to survive on reduced grants. After our rally all are invited to join their day-long Civic Day event today in their courtyard by the Town Hall.
31 Tottenham Green Leisure Centre The management of this and other Council-run leisure centres are facing ‘externalisation’/privatisation.
32 Tottenham Town Hall Now no longer used as a civic centre. But still a focal point – eg. for our rally today! Haringey Solidarity Group is part of the Haringey Alliance for Public Services, a local network for those living or working in Haringey. You can sign up for HAPS updates via their website.
Members and reps from the following organisations (in no particular order) were on the march:
Haringey UNISON (Local Government branch), Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, Haringey Trades Union Council, Day-Mer, Haringey Friends of Parks Forum, Better Local Healthcare Campaign, Haringey Forum for Older People, CONEL University and College Union, Public & Civil Service Union (North London), Unite Union, West Green School, Haringey Libraries, London Met University, Gladesmore School, Clyde Rd Area Residents Association, Turkish/Kurdish Community Centre, Refugee Workers Cultural Association, Socialist Womens Union, Triangle Childrens Centre, Markfield Project, Haringey Council Disabled Childrens Team, Haringey Participation Crew, Haringey Youth Council, Bounds Green School and Childrens Centre, Stroud Green Childrens Centre, Jamoree Play Hut, Tree Tops after school club, Notth London Community House, Woodside Childrens Centre, Park Lane Childrens Centre, Haringey National Union of Teachers, Big Green Bookshop book group, City & Islington college UCU, UCU London region, Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Defend Council Housing, Black Arts Production Theatre, Haringey Justice for Palestinians, Belmont School, Woodlands Park Childrens Centre, Sustainable Haringey network, Downhills Primary School, Haringey Environmental Health, Green Party, Socialist Party, Haringey Solidarity Group, Tottenham Socialist Workers Party, Hornsey & Wood Green SWP, Friends of Downhills Park, Friends of Lordship Rec