Another council pay axe – another Progress member at the heart of it

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Yesterday the SKWAWKBOX covered the fact that the two Labour-led councils to attempt to slash the wages of low-paid staff in response to government cuts – Durham County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council – both ‘happen’ to be led by prominent members of Progress, the arch-right faction, or ‘party within a party’, of Labour.

It has been announced that another Labour-led council intends to hack away at the wages of its hard-working employees – and, surprise surprise, yet another Progress ‘gloominary’ is at the helm.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council has announced plans to cut up to £3,831 – and in some cases more – from the incomes of ‘middle managers and blue-collar workers”.

The council is led by Nick Forbes, a significant Progress player who has been a keynote speaker at Progress’ annual conference alongside no less than the Chair of Progress, Alison McGovern, and the Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, also a member.

Quite correctly, unions are outraged at “a Labour council placing the burden of Tory austerity on to hard working council staff by cutting their pay” and have signalled their intention to “refuse to negotiate on any attack on staff terms and conditions”.

Astonishingly, the council says it is ‘disappointed’ at this response by staff and unions, which suggests they have their collective head somewhere rather darker than in the clouds.

Progress, along with its partners-in-grime Labour First and the ironically-named ‘Saving Labour’, love to accuse Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being out of touch with the ‘concerns’ of working-class people in ‘Labour heartlands’.

Well, Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a Labour heartland and I imagine a massive pay-cut is a major concern for the working-class council workers set to lose thousands of pounds if the council ploughs ahead with its plan.

If this is what Progress calls ‘being in touch’, I suspect that ‘working class heartlands’ are heartily pleased that Corbyn is out of touch.

And I very much suspect those in Newcastle, in nearby County Durham and in Brighton & Hove are of the opinion that Progress is a faction that belongs on the outside of the Labour party rather than in it.


  1. Well, it just goes to show that Progress is only concerned with power and control and has no concern whatsoever for working people. The ‘middle way’ doesn’t work as is seen by recent events in UK, USA and now in Europe. Process is deeply out of touch with what’s happening in politics!

  2. Perhaps it is time for the labour party to split. This kind of action was deemed to be that of the Militant of the 80s. The right wing of labour has to go. I rescinded my membership of the party due to the illegal and corrupt suspension fiasco. McNicholl and co should have been sacked and prosecuted for their actions. It is behaviour like this that will see Labour wiped off the political map in it’s own Heartland’s. Ukip are playing the socialist card of the labour party and it is already having an effect. Wake up Benn, Mandleson, Dugher, Kinnock, Nandy, and the rest. Perhaps even resign from the party. Whatever the party decides I now fear it is too late. Paul Nuttall is a clever street politician. Ukip has no reason to exist so the BNP have infiltrated it to the hilt. If they have any election success then god help us. By the same token the current labour party are not the saviours. People want to see the back of these mobs of foreigners taking their jobs and undercutting wages, using all the public services and NHS, Where was Labours rebuttal in these extreme attacks from the right? The press and media need to be engaged not distanced. Look how well all the other parties are represented by their spokespeople. Labour put people up who either want to simply discredit Corbyn at any price. Worse still they put people on who don’t seem to even know what the party position is on current issues. It is embarrassing. In all of these attempts to undermine both Corbyn and McDonnell the people labour are supposed to represent are not even in the equation. Until this changes, I can see the wilderness years reappearing.

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