Coalition against Water Charges
IN MARCH the Coalition Against Water Charges, the umbrella group to which the We Won't Pay Campaign and the Socialist Party is affiliated, met to discuss building the campaign over the coming months.
By Gary Mulcahy
Visit the site of the We Won't Pay Campaign
Members of the Water Service Trade Unions Group gave a report of the ongoing negotiations between the unions and Department officials over the issues of job losses and water charges.
It was stated that the Minister is expected to make a statement regarding the new model for the water service and how water charges will be paid. Even though the Minister John Spellar stated he was ruling out privatisation, all the options outlined in the Consultation Document by the Department are variations of a privatised service. The most probable model the Government are looking at is based on the Scottish water service. Essentially, the Scottish model is a publicly owned skeleton service, with all jobs and work contracted out to the private sector - in effect privatisation.
It was also stated that huge cut-backs are planned for the service over the next two years. Local depots in rural areas are likely to be closed with the main depots being concentrated in the large cities and towns.
Unfortunately, the Coalition has not organised any campaigning work in the communities and has failed to agree to build for a demonstration.
A Socialist Party proposal for a committee to be elected and democratically accountable to the membership and to issue press releases on behalf of the campaign was discussed and broadly accepted.
The Socialist Party will continue to participate and support the Coalition Against Water Charges, but will also continue to build the We Won't Pay Campaign as the key campaign that can defeat water charges.