In his latest Post column, Clydebank TUC's Thomas Morrison shares his thoughts on council cuts...

Clydebank TUC have been conducting public leafleting sessions to raise awareness of a couple of campaigns.

Firstly, we have focused on budget cuts made by West Dunbartonshire Council which have had an impact on a number of services.

The Welfare Rights and Debt Advice team suffered savage cuts, which has resulted in the public-facing long waiting lists to get expert advice.

Cuts have also led to changes to bin collections and an increase in charges for bulk uplifts.

The elderly are paying more for carers.

Adult learning staff, youth and community staff and nursery staff have all experienced cuts.

Last but not least, grass hasn't been getting cut in public areas.

We gathered names on a community petition which called for resistance to the cuts.

We are under no illusions that, no matter how many names we gathered, those in the administration would continue to do what council officers told them.

In the fifth richest nation in the world, billionaires and the big corporations dodge their taxes while our communities have faced years of service cuts and austerity.

All trade union branches at West Dunbartonshire Council call for a 'no cuts budget' to be set for next year, with a campaign to ensure local government services are properly funded by Holyrood and Westminster governments.

Our second public campaign focused on bus services across Strathclyde, which are in crisis.

Private bus companies receive millions of pounds in public subsidies every year, yet they continue to cut vital services and hike up fares.

This has left many people struggling to get to their work or unable to visit friends and family.

Some are forced to make their journeys by car, if they can afford it.

We have seen a vicious circle of decline ever since our buses were deregulated in 1986.

Now we finally have the chance to turn things around through new powers in the Transport Act 2019, which allows our transport authority – the SPT – to take buses back into public ownership.

This could mean the SPT being able to plan bus routes to serve our communities’ needs and connect seamlessly with trains, ferries and the Glasgow subway.

They could cut fares and deliver one simple, affordable ticket across all transport modes, just like Greater Manchester is already doing.

We call on Martin Rooney, leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, along with the leaders of other Strathclyde councils, to back the call to take the region's buses back under public control.

The real value of this campaigning was in the hundreds of face-to-face discussions we had with the public about an alternative strategy to challenge the politicians to act on behalf of their constituents.

It is all part of building a class consciousness that will be required if we are going to stop ordinary working people from paying for a crisis caused by the super-rich and their tax-dodging activities.