Solidarity Magazine » Local government http://solidaritymagazine.org Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.8 Yeovil TUC: Opposing cuts, organising solidarity http://solidaritymagazine.org/2012/05/yeovil-tuc-opposing-cuts-organising-solidarity/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2012/05/yeovil-tuc-opposing-cuts-organising-solidarity/#comments Mon, 07 May 2012 13:18:33 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=2673 Continue reading ]]> First, a bit of local South Somersetworking-class history. George Mitchell (1826-1901) was a hero of trade unionism in the 19th century, when most rural workers had no vote and lived under appalling conditions. Born in Montacute, into extreme poverty, he worked initially as a farm labourer before getting a job on Ham Hill in the quarry. In Frome, he became qualified as a stonemason. Moving toLondon, he became rich through his stonemason’s business. He decided to use his wealth to return to Somerset to improve the lot of agricultural workers and their families by building the National Agricultural Labourers’Union. George organised open-air mass meetings, starting in Montacute where about 1,000 people gathered and resolved to set up a branch of the union. This was followed by mass meetings in Chard, Yeovil and elsewhere. To emphasise his humble beginnings, he called himself “One from the Plough”.

Some of his biggest meetings, attracting as many as 20,000 men, women and children, were held on Ham Hill. One such meeting, in 1875, passed a resolution, proposed by George, demanding votes for all adults. Another resolution demanded “a school board in every parish” – meaning universal primary education. You can read all about George in a fine book by local writer Brendon Owen. It is called-of course- One from the Plough and is sold only at Montacute post office!

We believe that the present dire situation requires a revival of such mass action, demanding economic justice. If our forebears could do it without phones, emails or Facebook, what is stopping us? Only lack of confidence in ourselves and each other.

The main functions of our local trades union council are to organise solidarity with workers who are in dispute with their employer, to exchange information, and to represent the trade union movement in the local community. Currently our main concern is to oppose the cuts in public services, pensions and state benefits. You may remember that we initiated a Town Meeting on the subject in February. Currently, the Somerset County Council branch of UNISON is urging its members to wear black wristbands in memory of the Somersetthat we believe is being destroyed. Council leader Ken Maddock wants to turn the County Council into a mere commissioning body, employing only a fraction of its former staff and getting almost all of its much reduced services done by private profit-seeking contractors. We appeal to anyone who wants to join us in campaigning against the cuts to contact us via our website www.yeoviltuc.org.uk.

The closure of public libraries is being challenged in the High Court. The County Council wants to close the small library inSunningdale Road. One of our members has set up a Facebook page called “Save Sunningdale Library in Yeovil”. Why not join? Every little helps!

At our May Day celebration this year, one of the speakers was an 18-year-old student who had taken part in the student demonstrations against the rise in tuition fees. He told the meeting that his whole generation felt a deep sense of having been betrayed, and that they would never forget it.

All state secondary schools in the Yeovil area have now become academies. We think that this is an attack on local democracy. One local head teacher has described the involvement of the County Council in his school as “bureaucracy”, but we call it democracy. This move is the very opposite of the localism that the government claims to believe in. The schools will become more like businesses that have been awarded a government contract, and less like public services. Services previously provided by the County Council will now be provided by private companies driven by the profit motive. That is a backward step for education.

If your pension is being reduced, your housing benefit is being cut, you are losing some of your child benefit or tax credit; if you have lost your Education Maintenance Allowance, your job, your local bus service, or whatever it is, please tell us about your experience. You don’t have to suffer in silence! Use our website or write to the Secretary, Yeovil TUC, at Unity Hall,Central Road,YeovilBA20 1JL.

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2012/05/yeovil-tuc-opposing-cuts-organising-solidarity/feed/ 0
Strike action spreads in Southampton – Social Work staff to strike http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/strike-action-spreads-in-southampton-%e2%80%93-social-work-staff-to-strike/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/strike-action-spreads-in-southampton-%e2%80%93-social-work-staff-to-strike/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:20:55 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1640 Continue reading ]]> Update from Mike Tucker UNISON NEC and Southampton Branch Secretary

Thanks to Union Futures website


1.
Industrial Action
On Wednesday 3 August, up to 450 social work staff in both Children’s Services and Adult Services will strike for one day as part of the ongoing dispute over pay cuts. While cutting the pay of social care staff by 5%, the City Council responded to the threat of mass resignations of Child Protection Social Workers by making a “market supplement” payment to them of £1400 a year.

For newly qualified Social Workers, this payment was equivalent to the 5% pay cut, for more experienced workers, it is less than they are having taken from their pay. This £1400 payment has caused widespread anger among all social care staff. It is not being paid to all Social Workers in Children’s Social Services and is not being paid at all in Adult Services. Two mass meetings of social care staff were held in July and both voted to strike.

In addition to the one day strike, groups of social work staff are to start a period of extended strike action from 4 August. Details of the work groups who will strike will be issued tomorrow.

There will be widespread picket lines across Southampton on 3 August, and a rally at 11.00 a.m. in Guildhall Square. The social work staff will meet at 12 noon on 3 August to decide what further strikes to call. Messages of support for 3 August would be appreciated.

Strike action across the City is continuing. This week there are strikes in Street Cleansing, Parking Operations, Vehicle Workshops and the Itchen Bridge. Further strikes will be announced on Monday 1 August. Despite the imposition of the pay cuts on 11 July, the industrial action continues.

2. Legal Action Against the Council
The collective Employment Tribunal against the Council, taken out by UNISON and Unite for failure to consult on the dismissals, is not expected to be heard until 2012. This is because the Council have claimed that the hearing will take between 5 and 6 weeks. The union has started drawing up individual unfair dismissal claims. Adverts have been placed in the local paper and all members have been mailed with a case form to start the tribunal process. Briefing sessions were held yesterday with Thompsons Solicitors in attendance to explain the legal process. Over 100 UNISON / Unite members attended these briefings.

3. Talks with the Council continue but!
Talks between the Council and UNISON / Unite are continuing.  Phil Wood, the Regional Secretary has been present at the latest meetings.  The Council has still not revised their proposals and the prospect of resolving the dispute remains remote.

4. We need financial help
With the industrial action already taking place, and the action planned, the Branch will have spent £150,000. We have received promises of financial assistance from both the Region and from National level and have this week received an emergency cash transfer from UNISON to help the Branch to continue to function.

We have also received donations fro many branches across the Region and the country. I understand that the National union is to send out an appeal letter to all Branches shortly. Our Branch remains in the frontline of the fight against pay cuts and reductions. Today we have received a message of support and donation from the Shetland Islands UNISON Branch. Please send us further donations if you are able. Our members wish to continue to fight wage cuts, with your help we can ensure that we have the financial resources to continue.

Cheques should be made payable to UNISON Southampton District Branch and sent to UNISON Southampton District Branch, UNISON Office, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7NB.

For updates on the dispute, see our Branch web site at www.soton-unison-office.org.uk or the Branch Facebook site at www.facebook.com – Southampton District UNISON.

Best wishes

Mike Tucker
UNISON National Executive Council Member /
Branch Secretary
UNISON Southampton District Branch

e-mail: branchsecretary[at]soton-unison-office.org.uk or mike.tucker[at]southampton.gov.uk
Blackberry e-mail: m.tucker[at]unison.co.uk

For an update on the industrial action go to the Branch web site www.soton-unison-office.org.uk

 

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/strike-action-spreads-in-southampton-%e2%80%93-social-work-staff-to-strike/feed/ 0
Birmingham members to strike against savage cuts http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/birmingham-members-to-strike-against-savage-cuts/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/birmingham-members-to-strike-against-savage-cuts/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:59:54 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1598 Continue reading ]]> (22/06/11)

UNISON council workers in Birmingham have voted to take industrial action in protest against a new contract proposed by the city, which attacks their pay and conditions.

Birmingham local government branch members voted by a 76% majority for the strike, which will take place on 30 June.

News of the action was greeted with cheers at the union’s conference in Manchester today, during a debate in which delegates voiced their determination to defeat the ConDem coalition.

Graham Horne of Birmingham local government branch told conference that the city council had been led by a ConDem coalition for six years – and that the city’s public services had been “squeezed of funding” long before the government announced its austerity cuts.

Those services will lose £330m over the next three years. “Birmingham is known as the second city,” said Mr Horne, “but it is second to none in terms of cuts.”

Adding insult to injury, the authority has “declared war on staff” with what has become known as the Martini Contract, because it will allow council bosses to change or reduce working hours as and when they feel like it, forcing employees to work “any time, any place, anywhere”.

The contract will also lead to thousands of workers losing pay, and affect such conditions as weekend and shift pay.

Conference condemned the government for “mounting an ideological attack on the public sector disguised as financial necessity” – an attack that was being implemented “with relish” by coalition councils across the country.

Delegates agreed on the need to build an effective anti-cuts coalition with the TUC, other unions, trade union councils, community groups, services users and the public, and to resist attacks on hard-won terms and conditions.

It was also agreed to publicise wherever possible the role of the Liberal Democrats in implementing those cuts.

As Mr Horne told delegates: “The future is not orange. The future is purple and green.”

Conference also emphasised the need to build the union’s density in every workplace, if it is to counter the attacks on public services.

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/birmingham-members-to-strike-against-savage-cuts/feed/ 0
Southampton UNISON members vote for industrial action http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/southampton-unison-members-vote-for-industrial-action/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/southampton-unison-members-vote-for-industrial-action/#comments Wed, 11 May 2011 15:34:05 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1513 Continue reading ]]> The result of the industrial action ballot which closed this morning was as follows:

PREPARED TO TAKE STRIKE ACTION

Number of valid papers counted: 626

Number voting Yes: 354 (56.5% of valid vote)

Number voting No: 272 (43.5% of valid vote)
PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE
Number of valid papers: 624

Number voting yes: 488 (78.2% of valid vote)

Number voting no: 136 (21.8% of valid vote)
There was a 39% return.
The UNITE ballot closes on the 11 May. UNISON and UNITE will be meeting to discuss the ballot outcome and to discuss when to commence Industrial Action. UNISON stewards will be will be meeting that day to consider the outcome of the ballot. Further information will be sent to members on the 11 May.

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/southampton-unison-members-vote-for-industrial-action/feed/ 0
Threat of statutory duty removal http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/threat-of-statutory-duty-removal/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/threat-of-statutory-duty-removal/#comments Thu, 05 May 2011 10:35:52 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1505 Continue reading ]]> Rubbish could litter our streets, bodies could pile up, vulnerable children could be left without care, strip clubs could be set up on any corner, and mouldy chops could stack up on our shelves. These are just some of the damaging things that could happen if the Tory government presses ahead with plans to cut the duties on councils that protect us all, and give us better communities.

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today publishes a list of crazy cuts that could leave communities exposed. In its submission to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (CLG) consultation on statutory duties, UNISON is calling on the government to protect our communities by putting a stop to its damaging plans.

Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head of Local Government, said:

“The coalition has made some pretty crazy and dangerous decisions, but even thinking about getting rid of some of these duties is up there with the best of them.

If the Tories press ahead with their race to scrap the so-called ‘red tape’, they could see bodies pile up on the street, as nobody has responsibility for mortuaries. We could see gas safety fall and recycling schemes dry up. Unregulated taxis could prowl the streets and strip clubs set up on any corner.

Eric Pickles only needs to scratch the surface to find out that these duties protect our communities, making them safer and better places to live. Like a lot of other Tory plans, this consultation should go on the scrapheap.”

Crazy cuts rundown

Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/1629)

Local Authorities are responsible for keeping gas safe. How many people will be put at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if this is abolished?

Fire and Rescue Service Act 2004 Section 7

Makes provision for the purpose of extinguishing fires and protecting life and property. Who else should do this?

Fire and Rescue Service Act 2004 Section 8

Makes provision for the purpose of rescuing people in the event of road traffic accidents.

Fire and Rescue Services (Emergencies) (England) (Order) 2007 (SI 2007/735) made under s. 9 FRSA 2004

Makes provision for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear emergency and urban search and rescue. Who will the public turn to if this duty is removed?

Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 Section 7

Local Authorities have a duty to provide a library service. Will libraries be cut to extinction if this is abolished?

Gambling Act 2005 Section 159

Councils have to licence premises for gambling activities. How would corrupt operators be stopped if this was abolished?

Licensing Act 2003 Section 18

Requires local authorities to have a system for regulating premises licenses, including issuing licenses. Would we see strip clubs set up on any corner?

Zoo Licensing Act 1981

Councils should ensure zoos are safe for the public to visit and have a high standard of welfare for animals. What cruel and bad practices would come into place with unregulated zoos?

Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 45 A

Councils have to arrange for the collection of recyclable materials. Is our care for the planet going to be dumped?

Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 89

Councils currently have to keep land and highways clear of litter. Would litter start to pile up on our streets?

Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996/1499)

Councils are responsible for ensuring food labelling is accurate and out of date food is not being sold. Do we want to eat old sausages or have ingredients missed off the label?

Public Health Act 1936

Councils have to provide mortuaries. Would removing this duty see bodies pile up in the street?

Children Act 1989 Section 33

Councils take vulnerable children into care and look after them. Who would take over this role if this duty was scrapped?

Local Government (Misc. Provisions) Act 1976 Section 54

Councils licence taxi drivers. If they stopped doing this, how dangerous would it be to get into a cab?

Highways Act 1980 Section 41(1A)

Puts local Authorities responsible for dealing with snow and ice – who else could take this up?

New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 Section 81

Councils have to tell other bodies when they (or a utility company) are digging up the road. Without this, would we see roads in constant upheaval?

Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended) Section 5 (1)

Makes local authorities one of the authorities responsible for formulating and implementing strategies to tackle crime and disorder. Who else can create a joined-up approach?

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004) Section 9

Requires local authorities to participate in domestic homicide reviews with a view to improving policies and practice and preventing further violence and homicide. Tackling domestic violence requires a multi-agency approach – should this be optional?

Juries Act 1974 Section 3

Requires electoral registration officers to provide the Lord Chancellor with copies of the electoral register from which potential jurors can be summoned. A vital cog in the wheel of justice.

Crime and Disorder Act 1989 Section 39 (5)

Establishes the multi-agency, multi-disciplinary ethos behind the Youth Offending Teams. Putting into practice decades of experience.

Criminal Justice Act 2003 Section 325

Requires agencies to work together to manage the risks posed by offenders following their release from custody, for example to ensure that paedophiles aren’t inadvertently housed by the local authority near a school, or in an estate with many families. It is necessary to have one body – the locally accountable one – ensuring that this coordination happens – it can’t be optional.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Councils have to disclose information to the public on request. Do we want a culture of secrecy from the people we elect?

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/threat-of-statutory-duty-removal/feed/ 0
1 in 4 Not In Council Pension http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/1-in-4-not-in-council-pension/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/1-in-4-not-in-council-pension/#comments Thu, 05 May 2011 10:34:35 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1503 Continue reading ]]> One in four council workers already opted out of pension scheme shows proposed contribution increases to local government pension schemes would be a disaster.

Government proposals to increase contributions by 3.2% to 9.6% will make this worse, jeopardising the entire Local Government Pension Scheme for its four million members says GMB

 

A new GMB study shows that the participation rate in the Local Government Pension scheme (LGPS) ranges from a low of 46% in Central Bedfordshire to 99% in Sheffield. In 46 councils one in four or more of all council workers including low earning care workers, teaching assistants, cleaners and support staff are not members of the pension fund. The study also shows that in the five years to 2011 these has been a 7% overall drop in workers participating in the LGPS. Overall 1 in 4 workers elegible to be in the scheme are opted out of the scheme concluding that they cannot afford to be in the Local Government Pension Scheme. The overall participation rates for 118 Councils in England are shown below.

GMB established that data on participation rates in the current Local Government pension scheme using the Freedom of Information Act. GMB says that this data proves that increasing the contribution rate by 3.2% from 6.4% to 9.6%, as part of the proposed £1billion Osborne Pension Tax which is the target Treasury yield from the higher employee contribution rate of 9.6%, will drive thousands more away from pension saving while doing nothing to increase the funding level of the scheme. See Note 1 and 2 below.

 

Percentage of eligible employees participating in the Local Government Pension Scheme according to responses received from 118 Councils by GMB to a Freedom of Information request.

 

COUNCIL PARTICIPATION RATE
Central Bedfordshire 46%
Enfield 50%
Darlington 55%
Stockton on Tees 55%
Kingston 56%
Middlesborough 57%
East Sussex 58%
Tower Hamlets 58%
Hertfordshire 59%
Portsmouth 59%
Lancashire 60%
Isles of Scilly 61%
Barking & Dagenham 64%
Dudley 64%
Essex 64%
Plymouth 64%
Bradford 65%
City of London 65%
Slough 65%
Newham 66%
Swindon 66%
Worcestershire 66%
Bristol 67%
Hartlepool 67%
Cornwall 68%
Greenwich 68%
Sandwell 68%
Rutland 69%
Sunderland 69%
Bracknell Forest 70%
Camden 70%
Haringey 70%
Leeds 70%
Luton 70%
Walsall 70%
Bolton 71%
Durham 71%
Liverpool 71%
Windsor & Maidenhead 71%
Brighton 72%
Halton 72%
Hull 72%
West Sussex 72%
North Tyneside 73%
Herefordshire 74%
Lambeth 74%
Hampshire 75%
Isle of Wight 75%
Leicestershire 75%
Redcar 75%
Wandsworth 75%
Kent 76%
Manchester 76%
Warwickshire 76%
Barnet 77%
Bedford 77%
Cheshire West & Chester 77%
City of York 77%
Leicester 77%
Wolverhampton 77%
Kirklees 78%
Medway 78%
North East Lincolnshire 78%
Rochdale 78%
Staffordshire 78%
Telford 78%
Blackpool 79%
Cheshire East 79%
Gateshead 79%
Hammersmith & Fulham 79%
Oxfordshire 79%
Surrey 79%
Waltham Forest 79%
Wokingham 79%
Solihull 80%
South Gloucestershire 80%
Bath & NE Somerset 81%
Buckinghamshire 81%
Milton Keynes 81%
North Yorks CC 81%
Redbridge 81%
Gloucestershire 82%
Sutton 82%
Wirral 82%
Barnsley 83%
Bournemouth 83%
Islington 83%
Northumberland 83%
Peterborough 83%
Sefton 83%
Stoke 83%
Trafford 83%
Birmingham 84%
Doncaster 84%
North Somerset 84%
Ealing 85%
Harrow 85%
Lincolnshire 85%
Nottingham City 85%
Wakefield 85%
Bromley 86%
Calderdale 86%
Cambridgeshire 86%
Rotherham 86%
Southwark 86%
Westminster 86%
Hackney 88%
Hillingdon 88%
Derbyshire 89%
North Lincolnshire 89%
Nottinghamshire 89%
Newcastle 92%
Derby 95%
Lewisham 95%
Somerset 95%
Richmond 96%
Bexley 97%
Sheffield City 99%

 

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said:

 

“Low paid council workers have had a two year pay freeze and are finding it increasingly hard to save for their retirement as our survey shows. Government proposals to increase contributions by 3.2% to 9.6% would make this worse, jeopardising the entire Local Government Pension Scheme for its four million members. We need sustainability and fairness that encourages people to invest in their retirement and not be reliant on welfare benefits.

 

The Chancellor is insisting on raising £1 billion from the LGPS in a tax that will see central government grants to local authorities cut and contribution income to the scheme plummet as members leave the scheme. In a survey of more than 2,000 scheme members 39% said they would leave the scheme if the average contribution rate increased to 9.6%.

 

The LGPS pays out on average £4,200 a year to LGPS pensioners, the lowest in the public sector and has an annual positive cash flow of £4 billion. Yet the Chancellor seeks to wipe this out overnight with a doomed policy that will destroy what should be a viable, sustainable means of funding retirement for millions of front line public sector workers.

 

Government has said that it wants people to save for retirement but is failing to ensure low paid workers stay in their pension scheme. This causes the legacy of under saving that the Turner Commission warned about five years ago, a legacy that will leave millions in poverty in later life.

 

As the government prepares to introduce auto-enrolment in the private sector it should be examining why 20 years of auto-enrolment to a good quality scheme still leads to a quarter of local authority employees opting out.”

 

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/1-in-4-not-in-council-pension/feed/ 0
Town halls face legal threat over cuts http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/04/town-halls-face-legal-threat-over-cuts/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/04/town-halls-face-legal-threat-over-cuts/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2011 17:55:29 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1485 Continue reading ]]> 08/04/2011 | By Rhiannon Bury, Inside Housing

Local authorities face being taken to court over their spending cuts, following a landmark court case.

In the High Court last Friday Birmingham Council was told its £1.4 million cut to voluntary sector funding was unlawful.

The court found in favour of 13 voluntary organisations which argued the council no longer fulfilled its equalities duties because the cuts negatively impacted on disabled people, ethnic minorities and women.

Organisations involved in the case include Birmingham’s Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern Birmingham and the Bangladesh Welfare Centre.

The court found that England’s largest local authority failed to consult adequately on the funding changes to the groups.

Mr Justice Blake criticised the council’s decision to implement the cuts last month, even though a consultation to approve new grant management will not end before July. This would leave a four-month gap in which the 13 voluntary groups would receive no money at all from the council.

Lucy James, a solicitor specialising in judicial review at law firm Trowers & Hamlins, said she expected similar cases to arise in the coming months. ‘Organisations are more likely to use [judicial review] now in the face of big cuts than they would have been in the past. That’s not to say that local authorities won’t make cuts, but they will have to make sure any decision-making is robust.’

The court ordered Birmingham Council to continue to pay £25,000 a month to three organisations – The Birmingham Tribunal Unit, the Chinese Community Centre and St James’s Advice Centre – which provide a unique function in the city, until July’s grant management consultation concludes.

A council spokesperson said: ‘We are disappointed by the court’s judgement. The council is considering its position, including potential appeal against the judgement.’

]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/04/town-halls-face-legal-threat-over-cuts/feed/ 0
Connexions staff protest in Birmingham over job losses and office closures http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/04/connexions-staff-protest-in-birmingham-over-job-losses-and-office-closures/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/04/connexions-staff-protest-in-birmingham-over-job-losses-and-office-closures/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2011 17:25:42 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1465 Continue reading ]]>

By Kat Keogh, Birmingham Post

April 6th


Hundreds of staff at a Birmingham youth service staged a city centre rally over planned cuts and redundancies.

Workers from the youth careers advice service Connexions gathered in Victoria Square for the demonstration after picketing Connexions offices in Northfield, Broad Street and Kings Heath.

Members of the Unison trade union staged the walkout in protest at a 30 per cent cut and up to 36 job losses at the youth training and employment service.

Connexions advice centres in Handsworth, Aston and Erdington have already closed and unions say that at a time of soaring youth unemployment the service is “more valuable than ever”.

They are calling on the city council to fund Connexions until a new replacement All Ages Careers service is set up.

Among those who joined the protest was Connexions advisor Terri Jackson, from Bartley Green, who is set to leave the service after 30 years.

She said: “I have taken voluntary redundancy and have only 12 working days left, but my leaving means at least one other person won’t lose their job.

We offer advice and guidance to thousands of young people in this city when they have to make life-changing decisions. The Government say they are going to help youth unemployment with 40,000 extra apprenticeships, but that is just a drop in the ocean.”


]]>
http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/04/connexions-staff-protest-in-birmingham-over-job-losses-and-office-closures/feed/ 0
Hundreds protest at council and health cuts in Southampton http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/01/hundreds-protest-at-council-and-health-cuts-in-southampton/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/01/hundreds-protest-at-council-and-health-cuts-in-southampton/#comments Sun, 23 Jan 2011 13:46:11 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1240 Continue reading ]]> Thursday 20th January 2011

    By Matt Smith Political reporter Daily Echo

    NEARLY one thousand council and health workers took to the streets of Southampton today in protest at pay cuts. A noisy demonstration made its way from Above Bar Church to a rally Southampton City Council’s headquarters at the Civic Centre.

    Police officers stood guarding the entrance to the building as hundreds assembled outside chanting, blowing whistles and waving placards and banners. Some demonstrators sprayed their hair purple and green.

    Members of the Unison and Unite trade unions earlier met at Above Bar Church to launch a ballot to reject council proposals to axe up to 250 jobs and cut the pay of more than 5,500 workers, including non teaching school staff, by 5.4 per cent without long term job security.

    Council workers were joined in the demonstration by 150 striking cleaners from Southampton General Hospital. The cleaners, Unison members employed by Medirest, are taking three days of strike action over what they say is a failure to pay them NHS conditions.

    Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said: “Council workers are angry that their jobs, pay and the services they provide are being hit by the budget being introduced by the Conservatives at both a national and local level.

    They do not accept that the only solutions are redundancies and pay cuts. The Conservatives are targeting the poor and the vulnerable in order to bail out the bankers who caused the economic crisis. Council workers will not pay for the bankers greed”.

    Council leader Royston Smith said he was determined to show strong leadership in the face of “a severe economic climate”.

    He said the council had “significantly less money” and faced the difficult choice of either cutting terms and conditions of laying off even more workers.

    ]]>
    http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/01/hundreds-protest-at-council-and-health-cuts-in-southampton/feed/ 1
    Doncaster Council strike ballot http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/01/doncaster-council-strike-ballot/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/01/doncaster-council-strike-ballot/#comments Wed, 19 Jan 2011 15:38:15 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1234 Continue reading ]]> 18 January 2011

    Doncaster Council’s biggest trade union has started the ball rolling over a prospective strike over public spending cutbacks.

    Shop stewards and convenors at the authority’s branch of the public services union Unison have voted to ballot their members over action against cuts they fear will lead to as many as 2,000 job losses.

    The council have already revealed 700 staff are expected to go under voluntary redundancy packages, subject to final rubber stamping of some.

    Hundreds have already left.

    But the authority is facing savings of £80 million over the next three years, with more jobs expected to go next year.

    Around 50 union representatives attended a branch executive meeting, which unanimously agreed to ask union bosses for permission to go ahead and hold a strike ballot.

    The planned ballot is over three issues.

    They are:

    * Cuts to jobs, including compulsory redundancies.

    * Changes to terms and conditions.

    * Cuts to services.

    Doncaster Council bosses were due to be notified of the vote yesterday.
    Leaders at the union are looking to co-ordinate any action they take with other council unions, such as GMB, Unite, and teaching unions such as the NUT and NASUWT.

    Officials are now passing the decision on to members across the council, and are planning meetings in Doncaster town centre and at workplaces in the borough.

    Branch secretary Jim Board said the attendance at the meeting saw significantly higher numbers attending than is usually the case for executive meetings.

    He said: “We have sent out requests to ballot.

    “If the council said there will be no compulsory redundancies, and would come forward and say there would be no changes to terms and conditions we would call the ballot off. We’re are not expecting that to happen.

    “We have to fight to defend terms and conditions, and each others’ jobs. We saying be prepared for industrial action now and in the future.

    “This is a battle that is bigger than any I have known. This is not just the odd job, it is hundreds of jobs and the services that are used by the whole of Doncaster.

    “We believe we have a vital role in defending those services.”

    No one was available to comment at Doncaster Council.

    ]]>
    http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/01/doncaster-council-strike-ballot/feed/ 0