Labour-led City Councils have no solutions to the ongoing climate crisis. Instead, many of the schemes put forward by the Labour Party at local level only serve to alienate ordinary workers from getting involved in the types of mass struggle needed to stop the unaccountable capitalist juggernaut that is destroying our planet.
Here in Leicester, Socialist Alternative members recently helped to lead a broad trade union campaign which succeeded in forcing our Labour City Council to scrap their proposed Workplace Parking Levy.
The Council’s so-called Green Levy had aimed to raise funds for greener forms of travel by taxing workers for parking their cars at work and was set to apply to 22,000 non-NHS workers, and an additional 4,000 NHS workers. Although similar parking levies are being supported in England by both the Green Party and the Labour Party,
Labour have opposed identical schemes in Scotland, calling them “an ill-thought out, half-baked, short- sighted car parking tax that will hit low paid workers.” Of course, this principled-sounding opposition to attacks upon workers’ only shows what Labour will do in opposition, not what they do when they are in power.
As one of the two officers of the Campaign Against Leicester’s Workplace Parking Levy, over the past year we ran a highly visible campaign that held regular meetings, a protest, organised regular mass leafleting/ door-knocking sessions, mobilised trade union members, and succeeded in publishing a number of reports promoting our arguments and achievements which we hope will help inform other such campaigns (see stopleicesterwpl.com).
Leicester’s Labour-run Council have now ditched their proposed levy, but the fight for genuine green solutions to the climate crisis remains a work in progress that our campaign is still organising around.