Thursday, 29 December 2011

Defend Pensions - Escalate Action!

On Saturday January 7th January, PCS Left Unity are holding an 'organising conference' at the Friends Meeting House in London.

The PCS Left Unity conference has been called to "debate how we can build the campaign to defend our pensions and fight the cuts and prevent any unacceptable “deal” that makes us work longer, pay more and get less" and build on the activism of November 30th.


Monday, 19 December 2011

NAME DAY FOR NATIONAL STRIKE!

PCS Left Unity have called a "organising conference" in order to continue the fight back against the government plans to cut pensions.

“PCS Left Unity is organising an open meeting at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London on Saturday 7 January to demand further action on pensions, this meeting will be open to all reps in any union that took action on N30 and is to put pressure on union leaderships to name a further strike day, please pass on to all your contacts in other unions, put the date in your diary and attend, more details will be issued shortly.” - Janice Godrich, President of PCS, on behalf of PCS Left Unity.
 
PCS Left Unity National Committee 

DEFEND PENSIONS - ESCALATE ACTION NAME DAY FOR NATIONAL STRIKE 

Organising Conference Saturday: Friends Meeting House (opp. Euston Station) 

7th January 2012 11am – 4pm 

Chair: Janice Godrich PCS President 

Speaker: Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary (other speakers to be announced) 

November 30th was the biggest show of strength from Britain’s trade unions in living memory. It shook the coalition government and provided a firm foundation for the escalation of industrial action to defeat the unjustified attack on pensions and to challenge the coalition’s pay freeze, cuts and privatisation programme.

At the TUC’s Public Sector Liaison Group Mark Serwotka on behalf of PCS argued the TUC should set the date for a further day of nationally coordinated strike action to bring the government into serious negotiations. Although there was some support for this position the TUC general secretary Brendan Barber argued that all the unions should sign up to a so-called “Heads of Agreement”, this means the core issues, on which we took action, working longer, paying more and getting less, are surrendered, just as the government have wanted. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, argued for acceptance of this “deal”.

It is almost beyond belief that when the confidence of the movement is at its highest point in decades as a result of November 30th and with an additional 100,000 recruits due to the action such an abject surrender is being considered. Now is the time to set the date, as early as possible in 2012, preferably January, for a further day of nationally coordinated industrial action which can be escalated by bringing even more unions on board including workers, like those in Unilever, fighting to defend private sector pensions. 

The PCS Left Unity National Committee invites all activists from all unions to an organising conference on the 7th of January to debate how we can build the campaign to defend our pensions and fight the cuts and prevent any unacceptable “deal” that makes us work longer, pay more and get less. 
 
 This will be an organising conference, not just a debating forum. It is intended to arm activists with the issues so they can go back to their workplaces and into their unions in order to build a campaign that will secure justice on pensions. 

To cover costs there will be a registration fee of £5 for waged delegates. 

FAIR PENSIONS FOR ALL - STOP THE CUTS - NO PRIVATISATION

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

"Public backing us, say Rotherham Unison strikers: VIDEO"

In a video on the Rotherham Advertiser website, striking workers talk about the N30 strikes!

"PUBLIC support for today's strike by public sector workers has been strong, according to a local union official.

Unison's Steve Pearson, from the Rotherham Health branch, was talking to Advertiser reporter Gareth Dennison on the picket line at Rotherham General Hospital.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

N30 - Day of Action - Pensions Strike / Protest

A video made by Rotherham GMB giving some context for the strikes and then showing Rotherham's finest marching and at the rally!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

NOV30! 300+ in Roth!!!

According to estimates, the number of people at the Rotherham March and Rally in support of the pension strike was over 300! Many then joined the thousands in Sheffield! This article taken from the Rotherham Advertiser.

Photo by Jason Emerson
"MORE than 300 striking public sector workers marched through Rotherham today after the biggest mass walkout for decades.

Refuse workers, probation staff, teachers, nurses, lecturers and civil servants were among thousands across the borough who joined nearly three million workers in a one-day strike against government plans to change their pensions.

Scores of pickets were out at Rotherham General Hospital, council buildings and the town’s main college.
 
Speakers from the UNISON, GMB, PCS, NUT and UCU unions addressed a rally in All Saints’ Square.

Photo by Ralph Dyson.
Eric Battey of the GMB said: “The facts are clear—we’ll work longer, pay more and get less.”

Ministers say public sector pensions are unsustainable and condemned the strike as irresponsible because negotiations were ongoing and would cost the economy £500 million."

Many on the march and rally were calling on the TUC to call the next date.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

NOV30: Route change!

The route of the March in Rotherham November 30th to support the strikes in the public sector has been changed.

The march in Rotherham has been shortened, though the start time and assembly point is the same: instead of continuing past the RCAT Eastwood building and turning left on to Wharnecliffe Road, the march will turn left after the RCAT Clifton Building, down Howard Street. The map below shows the new route.

10am: After pickets, gather outside town hall.
10:30am: Start the March around Rotherham.
11am: arrive for a rally in All Saints Square
11:15am onwards: Board coaches and head to Sheffield to join the regional demonstrations.

Also this Saturday there will be Union and RAC activists leafletting in Rotherham Town Centre outside Halifax/Boots/Market entrance.



MARCH DETAILS: - March begins outside Rotherham Town Hall
- March behind Job Centre along Stanley street
- Turn left, down the hill, along Mansfield Road
- Turn left and march along Wellgate
- Turn right, up the hill, along Doncaster Gate
- Turn left along Howard Street
- Turn left, down the hill, along Howard Street towards Halifax/Boots/Market entrance
- Turn Left, march along Effingham Street towards All Saints Square
- Rally in All Saints Square

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

PCS meetings on NOV30 and beyond...

A email circulated to PCS union members.

"Dear Members, 

We have organised a number of meetings to talk about the coming events in November and beyond. 

Already in our branch, members are feeling the effects of the attacks on public services. We have seen the utter chaos of the selection exercises and alongside, we are expected to pay more, work longer, and get less. Check out the pension’s calculator on the PCS website to find out how much you stand to lose:
http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/pensions/pensionscalculator.cfm 

We would urge you all to take a small amount of time out to participate in these meetings. This struggle is not only for our own pensions, jobs, terms and conditions, but a fight to save the dismantling of the welfare state itself. 

This legacy was passed to us from our parents and their parents. Free education, health care, decent housing, jobs, pay and pensions along with decent local services for our communities were established over generations; recent Governments have undermined these basic tenets – we must stop the rot. 

Let’s not be the first generation to pass a handful of nothing to our kids and grandkids. Let’s not go quietly like lambs to the slaughter; let’s fight for our pensions and jobs. Let’s fight for our children’s future and to respect those who have gone before us, who created the welfare state. 

They gamble, you lose? 

Don’t let them get away with it. Try to get along to one of our meetings (details below). Time to stand up and be counted. 

Thursday 24th November 12:30 – 13.15
Sheaf Island pub (Wetherspoons), Ecclesall Road about 5 minutes walk from Kings Court and Porterbrook House. (Speaker tba)

or

Thursday 24th November 12:15-13.00 and 13.15-14.00
Red Deer, Mappin Street about 5/10 minutes walk from Mayfield Court, Rockingham and Steel City House. (Speaker tba)"

Thursday, 10 November 2011

List Of Events in South Yorkshire.

Sheffield Trades Council has circulated a list of events.

The list circulated details the many events that are taking places in South Yorkshire, many of which - though not all - are Anti-Cut related activities.In Rotherham there are weekly meetings - called by Unison - to organise the actions in Rotherham in support of the strikes on the 30th November.

Also, there will be 2 'Days of Action' (Saturday 12th November and 19th November) in Rotherham where RAC will be support Unions in promoting the Nov 30th Strikes.

______________________________________________________________________________
7th to 12th November,2011: "Ashes & Diamonds Exhibition."
Wortley Hall. Wortley Hall has been chosen as, like previous ventures, it has past links to
National Union of Mineworkers` Education. John Dunn, the Sponsor writes:"I attended many
Derbyshire NUM weekend and week long schools there as I am sure did many of us.Wortley
Hall is also a valuable Trade Union resource that is celebrating 60 years of ownership by the
Trade Union and Labour Movement (who says workers cannot run a business?). It will also
feature a number of Public Meetings.
THE TIMETABLE IS AS FOLLOWS:-
7th November, 2011: 7.00 P.M.,Wortley Hall. Official opening by Arthur
Scargill, NUM Honorary President,incorporating From The Miners` Strike To The Current
Capitalist Crisis - Ken Capstick, former NUM Yorkshire Area Vice-President. The artist,
Darren Coffield, will also speak on what inspired him to create this tribute.
8th November, 2011: 8.00 P.M, Wortley Hall. "The Media - From the Miners`
Strike to MurdochGate."Speakers: Granville Williams,Campaign For Press and Broadcasting
Freedom and Author of:"Shafted-The Miners` Strike and the Aftermath"; and Peter Lazenby
-Industrial Correspondent, Yorkshire Evening Post, who was arrested during the Strike.
11th November, 2011: 7.00 P.M., Wortley Hall. "Art and The Labour
Movement." By Darrell Cozens, UCU, Coventry Trades Union Council.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Hilary Cave,
Secretary, North Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Labour History Society, 22 Boythorpe
Avenue, Chesterfield, Derbys S40 2QE, tel: 01246 270628,
________________________________________________________________________________
10th November,2011:PUBLIC RALLY, 6,30 P.M.,PONDS FORGE,
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS CENTRE, MAIN HALL, SHEAF STREET,
SHEFFIELD,S1 2BP.
SPEAKERS:Mark Serwotka,PCS General Secretary; Matt Wrack,FBUGeneral Secretary;
Karen Reahy, UNITE Regional Secretary; Peter Davies,GMB Sheffield Regional Secretary;
Sally Kincalds,NUT Wakefield Branch Secretary; UNISON Speaker and other Speakers
invited.
MEETING SPONSORED AT THE TIME OF PUBLICATION BY:- Sheffield Trades Union
Council; Barnsley Trades Union Council; UNITE North East and the Yorkshire and
Humberside Region; NUTSheffield; NUT Barnsley; UCU University of Sheffield; UCU
Hallam University; FBU South Yorkshire; UCU Barnsley College; UNISON University of
Sheffield; PCS Sheffield; GMB S38; NUT Rotherham; UNISON Rotherham Health.. 
________________________________________________________________________________
11th November,2011: INDEPENDENT WORKING CLASS EDUCATION:
can the tradition be revived? DAY SCHOOL .10.00 A.M to 5.00 P.M.,Northern College, Barnsley,
 ________________________________________________________________________________
14th November, 2011:10.30 A.M. to 12.30 P.M. TUC Regional Disabilities
Forum. Venue: TUC Office, 33,Park Place,Leeds,LS1 2RY (Phone 0113 242 9696)
_______________________________________________________________________________
A national protest at Parliament will challenge Government attacks on tenants and demand action to
build the homes we need. The Housing Emergency protest on 15 November will oppose attacks on
tenancies, rents and benefits, and demand new Council housing - see leaflet.The national protest follows
lobbies and protests across Britain, rejecting attacks on secure tenancies, up to 80% market rents, and
evictions, and demanding a mass council house building programme to provide desperately-needed secure
and genuinely-affordable rented housing.
MPs next month vote for the last time on the Localism Bill, introducing fixed term tenancies, giving
Councils powers to end homeless access to council housing and remove thousands from housing waiting
lists. Join the National Protest Contact tenants, trade unions, councillors and housing campaigners to make
a joint delegation to Parliament 4pm 15th Nov - bring banners and placards
Arrange to see your MPs and demand they oppose attacks in the Localism Bill. See Localism Bill
Briefing here Come to the meeting 5pm Committee Room 15 House of Commons, with MPs, councillors,
trade unions, tenants and others.
_____________________________________________________________________________
19th November, 2011: Labour Representation Committee Annual Conference
will take place from 10.00 A.M. to 4.30 P.M. in the UCU Offices,Malet Street,London. LRC
Members will discuss campaign strategy for the coming year. The conference will debate and
vote on policy, elect new officers and a national committee, and will hold hustings for LRC
nominees for the centre-left Labour Party NEC slate. If not already a member or need to
renew then join online . Only LRC members are able to speak and vote at conference.For
those who are unwaged or travelling from outside London, the price to attend is £3, Register
online. A free creche will also be available, though please email us to register. Speakers at the
conference include campaigning left MPs John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn; and Katy Clark.
Other Speakers: FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack; Haringey community and youth
worker Symeon Brown; and Dot Gibson, General Secretary of the National Pensioners`
Convention.
_______________________________________________________________________________
22nd November, 2011: Wortley Hall Left Film Club Presents at Wortley Hall:
Black Flash "A Century of Black Sportsmen." The film is based on the Phil. Visili book
"Colouring over the White Lines: A History of Black Footballers in Britain." From the
eccentric Victorian Arthur Wharton who kept goal for Preston North End in 1886 to Cyrille
Regis, John Barnes and beyond. Black Flash celebrates the highs and lows of nearly 120 years
of black involvement in British professional football. .The film will be followed by a
Q.& A. Session.
ITINERARY: 6.00 PM -7.15 PM Food: 7.15 PM -7.55 PM. "Black Flash";
7.55 PM. to 8.10 PM Intermission; 8.10 PM to 8.50 PM "Black Flash".
9.00 P.M. Q.& A. Session.
COST: £6.50 Per Person (INCLUDING Pie and Pea Supper)
REDUCED OVERNIGHT ROOMS AVAILABLE.
CONTACT: Wortley Hall,Wortley Village, Sheffield, S35 7DB. Tel.0114 2882100;
Fax 0114 283 0695; E-mail:unfo@wortleyhall.org.uk Web.www.wortleyhall.org.uk.
_____________________________________________________________________________
22nd November, 2011: Sheffield Trades Union Council Delegate Meeting.
7.00 P.M., Trades & Labour Club. Speaker: Bill Adams, Secretary,TUC Yorkshire & The
Humber Regional Council. The Agenda of this Delegate Meeting will include the Final
Arrangements for the Trade Union Day Of Action on 30th November, 2011.
25th November, 2011: Derbyshire Unemployed Workers` Centres. Present:.
"THE BIG SOCIETY SOCIAL." 7.00 P.M.., The Winding Wheel,Chesterfield.
Tickets: £10 Waged/£5 Unwaged.
____________________________________________________________________________ _
30th November, 2011: Rally, 9.15 A.M.. Herries Road Entrance, Northern
General Hospital. Organised by UNISON Northern General Hospital Branch. Speakers
invited. Jazz Band to be booked.Further information will be given when when available.
______________________________________________________________________________
30th November, 2011: TUC Regional March and Rally in Sheffield of trade
unionists on strike plus their supporters commencing around 1.00 P.M.. Further information
will be gven when available.
_______________________________________________________________________________
30th November, 2011: Day Of Action Social & Rally commencing at 5.30 P.M
organised by the Sheffield Trades Union Council in the Sheffield Trades & Labour Club,
Duke Street,Sheffield, S2. Further information will be given when available.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Nov 30 - March and Rally in Rotherham!

Rotherham is to hold a March and Rally on November 30th to support the stikes in the public sector.

In a meeting organised by Rotherham Unison branches, with representatives from many unions, community groups and campaigning groups, the following action was agreed in order to promote and to support the strikes:

10am: After pickets, gather outside town hall.
10:30am: Start the March around Rotherham (details + map below - red line marks the route of the march).
11am: arrive for a rally in All Saints Square
11:15am onwards: Board coaches and head to Sheffield to join the regional demonstrations.

Also there will be 'Action Days' held on Saturday12th and 19th November, leafletting and promoting the strike and the march. Stalls will be organised in All Saints Square and outside the Market/Halifax Bank/Boots.

MARCH DETAILS: - March begins outside Rotherham Town Hall
- March behind Job Centre along Stanley street
- Turn left, down the hill, along Mansfield Road
- Turn left and march along Wellgate
- Turn right, up the hill, along Doncaster Gate
- Turn left along Howard Street/Eastwood Lane past RCAT
- Turn left, down the hill, along Wharnecliffe Street/ Drummond Street past the Markets and Rotherham Central Library
- Turn Left, march along Henry Street/ Effingham Street towards All Saints Square
- Rally in All Saints Square

Monday, 31 October 2011

Join the Jarrow March in London

The final leg of the Jarrow March will pass through London on the Saturday 5th November, from the Embankment to Trafalgar Square.

There will be a coach going from outside Paternoster Row (near Train Station, outside Showroom Cinema) on Saturday 5th November at 0800 in the morning, so if you fancy joining the marchers please get in touch with Alistair Tice on 07706 710 041!

Here's what the Jarrow March 2011 blog has to say about the 5th November March and Rally.

"After marching 330 miles the Jarrow March for Jobs arrives in London. Following in the footsteps of the 1936 Jarrow marchers who walked to London against unemployment. Assemble Temple Place on Embankment 12noon! Come and join the end demostration and rally in Trafalgar Square. 

Speakers Include: 
Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary 
Bob Crow RMT General Secretary 
Paul Murphy MEP Socialist Party Ireland 
Lizi Gray Great-grandaughter of 1936 marcher 
 Stephen Hepburn MP for Jarrow 
US Occupy Wall Street Activist 
Jarrow marchers
Day-Mer Youth 
Socialist Party 
Young Deacon performing his rap about the riots called ‘Failed by the System’ 
Ed Marsh NUS 
London Slutwalk Activist Maddy Carty performing her track ‘CONDEMn AGE’
Dennis Skinner MP for Bolsover + More!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Education workers lobby their MP's in London.

Yesterday, 26th October 2011, thousands of education workers went to London to lobby their MP's against the education cuts. RAC's Ralph Dyson went down and provided a few pictures. 

Ralph Dyson - on the left!
The following articles are taken from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and University and College Union (UCU).

"Thousands of teachers, lecturers and support staff visited Parliament today (Wednesday, 26 October) to lobby their MPs about pension cuts in the education sector.

Over 150,000 petition signatures were handed to the government.

Staff from the maintained, academy and independent sectors in England and Wales as well as from colleges and post-92 universities, lobbied their MPs and handed in petitions from their workplaces.

This lobby and the large number of petitions returned should serve as a wake-up call to the Government. If Ministers don’t recognise that pensions are both affordable and sustainable, many teachers and lecturers will be left with no option but to take further action, including supporting the planned TUC day of action on 30 November."

"Thousands of members of the UCU and other education trade unions will descend on parliament today to lobby their MPs about potential changes to their pensions.
The joint action by seven education unions is part of attempts by unions to resolve the pensions dispute without the need for further industrial action. To avoid disruption to classes, the lobby has been organised in the half-term holiday.

As well as speaking to their MPs, union members will hand a petition in to the schools minister, Nick Gibb MP, at 10.30am at the department for education.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We are meeting with MPs today to dispel government myths about the need for pension reform. Our members are unlikely militants but they will not stand by while their pensions are raided to pay for a crisis they did not create.'"

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Planning Meeting for TUC Day of Action 30th

Planning meeting, organised by Unison-Rotherham, for the November 30th Day of Action. 

Rotherham UNISON Health Branch and Rotherham UNISON Local Government Branch have provisionally agreed to hold a March & Rally in Rotherham on Wednesday 30th November as part of the TUC (Pensions Justice) Day of Action. We are keen to plan & co-ordinate the event with all the local trade unions/organisations representing Public Sector workers as well as the wider Labour and trade union movement. 

We therefore cordially invite you to attend a meeting on Wednesday 2nd November at the Unity Centre (St. Leonard's Road), Rotherham at 6.00pm to discuss and help plan the event. 
 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Ashes and Diamonds

A tribute to the mining industry and the people who fought to defend it.

An exhibition, that has already been displayed at Hurst House adult education centre, Abercrombie Street, Chesterfield, will move to Wortley Hall, between Sheffield and Barnsley, on the week commencing November 6. Organiser John Dunn said: “Our day release course with Sheffield University used to be held in Hurst House, and Wortley Hall was the venue for our weekend schools and longer courses. (Quotes taken from Sheffield Star article).


Friday, 14 October 2011

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Jarrow March: Rotherham Leg!

The Jarrow March passed through Rotherham yesterday! RAC members were there to encourage the marchers!

Around 30 young people passed through Thorpe Hesley yesterday. They stopped for their lunch at the Masons Arms, and had food paid for by donations from RAC and Rotherham NUT. Marchers were filmed by TV crews and interviewed by numerous journalists!

Around 20 supported turned up to welcome the Marchers into Rotherham, bearing banners and flags, and a few joined the Marchers on their way to Sheffield!

Here are a few videos taken from the internet - one of which inlcudes an interview with Rotherham's Kerry Hitchen!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

RAC Jarrow March Welcoming Rally

1145am - Thorpe Hesley Recreation Ground... Greet the Marchers!


The Jarrow March is inching closer to Rotherham... today the march was featured on Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 programme - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014x4zd#clips

We invite everyone, and hope for as many as possible, to meet at the recreation ground in Thorpe (for directions follow link below) at 11:45 to welcome the Jarrow Marchers!

Directions to the ground:

We'll be gathering on the corner of Barnsley Road and Chapelfield Road... For those not driving, the number 66 bus from Rotherham Interchange stops at the terminus at the Recreation Ground:

Link to 66 timetable:
http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/south_yorkshire/journey_planning/timetables/timetable.php?day=1&source_id=2&service=6%2F66%2F77&routeid=2878461&operator=26&source=sp

Please bring banners, placards and noise making devices... Once the marchers arrive they will be stopping for their lunch at the Masons Arms pub - who have very kindly arranged to provide the marchers with pie, peas and chips (and cheese sandwiches for the veggies!) with money raise by RAC and Rotherham NUT!

Link to Masons Arms:
http://www.masonsarmsthorpehesley.co.uk/

Here is the Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=220108728053290

Please tell as many people as possible and give the Marchers the best lunchtime reception of the march!!!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Jarrow March Under Way!

The Jarrow March 2011 is under way and is getting good coverage from the Mirror newspaper!

As the Jarrow March 2011 winds it's way through the country, preparations are under way in Rotherham to greet the Marchers as they pass through our area!

The Jarrow march will be passing through THORPE HESLEY on the 12th October at around 1200. They will be stopping for an hour or so for a lunch break and RAC will be donating some funds and helping to organise food and refreshments for all the Marchers! A 'Welcoming Rally' will be held from 1145 at the Recreation Ground in Thorpe Hesley - which can be reached on the number 66 bus from either Rotherham or Sheffield... 

We would like to invite and encourage as many people, community groups and trade unions as possible to join us at the 'Welcoming Rally' and to join the Marchers as the march from Rotherham to Sheffield! Bring banners, placards and noise-making tools!!!

You can keep up with Jarrow March progress at the Jarrow March 2011 blog and the Mirror newspaper website -and see if you can find RAC's Kerry Hitchen, representing us on the March!


RAC at the Tory Party Conference!

RAC members were part of the 35,000 strong, TUC-backed March for the Alternative at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester! 


Rotherham's finest flying the flag in Manchester!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

RAC Public Meeting:

As we gear up for a autumn of potential industrial action and community fight back against the cuts RAC are holding a public meeting on the 29th September

Speakers will give a national context for our local fight-back and provide evidence that there are millions of people organising opposition to the cuts throughout the country!

Date: 29th September
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Talbot Lane Methodist Church, Moorgate Street, Rotherham

Speakers
Jerry Hicks Unite
Paul Brandon National chair Right to work
Marion Lloyd PCS NEC Member
Kerry Hitchen Jarrow March

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

NSSN lobby of TUC Congress: 11 September

NSSN Lobby of TUC Conference

Three quarters of a million went on strike on June 30th in a massive show of strength against a concerted attempt by the Tory and Liberal Democrat partners of this millionaire government to make workers pay for the bankers’ greed. Powerful demonstrations up and down the country brought thousands, including many young workers onto the streets in big cities and small towns, many for the first time, determined to defend pensions, and to stop the immediate huge pay cuts that pension changes would mean.

We believe that 30th June was the opening salvo. To win we need to turn this three-quarters of a million into 4-5 million in the next round of industrial action in the autumn, involving all public sector unions, and thereby scuppering the machinations of the government to drive a wedge into the trade union movement between the NUT, UCU, ATL and PCS and the other three big unions Unison, Unite and GMB. Defence of pensions has proved a unifying factor so far, and one of our best opportunities to all come together and collectively force Cameron and Clegg into a massive U-turn.

We, the undersigned call on the TUC Conference on September 11th and the General Council to agree to call a one-day strike of all public sector unions as the next step in this struggle. We pledge to do all in our power to help make such an action a real success.

This petition will be presented to the TUC at Congress House on 11 September on the eve of their conference. Join us on the march and lobby: Assemble at 1:30pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1

Manchester for the Alternative: 2nd October!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

RAC interview in 'Rotherham Life'

RAC interviewed  by Chris Ledger on Rotherham Life blog

The group, called Rotherham Against the Cuts (RAC), was launched in May, which provides a basis for local people to organise their resistance to the proposed government budget cuts and the potential hardship that they could cause. It has also been founded to provide a local branch of the national Anti-Cuts movements and has also been recongised and supported by the Trades Council.

Current campaign activities
It has been described as a broad-based campaign, which will fight cuts in a variety of areas from benefit and disability allowance to pensions, the NHS, education and job cuts. They have conducted several activities – which are aimed at building the movement and involving people who can take the lead, informing the public about the cuts and building strategies that will defend services.

They currently hold a campaign stall in Rotherham Town Centre – which is outside Rotherham Market, and the Boots and Halifax branches – every Saturday morning between 11am to 1pm, where they hand out leaflets and collect signatures in support of the group. They also hold regular meetings at the Bridge Inn pub, attended picket lines and organised a peaceful rally on Thursday 30 June in All Saints Square, which attracted a crowd of around 50 people.

Chris Bingham, an activist for RAC, said: “For many years now Rotherham people have had their traditional networks of representation dismantled and dismissed, which has led to a general climate of non-involvement.

“Our first step with RAC is to build the movement and encourage the people doing the hard work of defending community and public services to join together, unite their voices, and lead the resistance against the savage cuts and the hardship that the poor and working people of Rotherham will feel the most in the coming year.”

A resistance network
Mr Bingham also said that although traditional methods like trade unions and political parties still exist, they are viewed with suspicion.

He added: “People have to develop their own networks of resistance, they have to share their information about the cuts they are facing and help each other out in a spirit of solidarity, realising that all cuts will affect them in some way.

“We, as people, have to seek each other out and develop united campaigning groups that are serious and committed, that can send clear messages to the centres of power who are deciding what services we can and cannot enjoy.

“Unfortunately, there are no magic buttons or easy short-cuts. We have to do the steady work to build up strong grass-roots organisations that have a shared set of objectives based on the principles of solidarity, mutual respect and support.”

More help needed
Despite support from the public at the rally and campaign stall, as well as a letter that was published in a recent edition of the Rotherham Advertiser, the group is still slowly expanding and it has been difficult to get people to come to their public meetings.

Mr Bingham added: “It is obvious that people in Rotherham are generally aware that bad times are coming, that something must be done and are very supportive of our analysis, but getting people to come to meetings is difficult.

“This is understandable because the people who should be involved and leading RAC are the very people who work the hardest and the longest, and are under the most strain. We can only assure those people that though we are a small group at the moment, we aren’t going anywhere and we await their involvement and participation.

“However, I think it is fair to say that everyone involved in RAC, at the minute, hopes we can build a strong fighting force that will make it impossible for the people of Rotherham to be ignored, as they have been for so long. And that it will help give Rotherham back its confidence to defy the powers that be and reclaim itself.”

Those who are interested in joining RAC can join its mailing list at rothagainstcuts@hotmail.co.uk or Facebook page . A consitution meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 August and a general meeting will also be held on Wednesday 9 August. Both meetings will be at the Bridge Inn pub, based at Greasbrough Road in Rotherham Town Centre, at 7.45pm and anyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

RAC Constitution!

Constitution of Rotherham Against the Cuts (RAC)

1. Our Mission Statement:

Rotherham Against the Cuts is a non-partisan group who welcomes the input and solidarity of any group, or individual, who, like us, are committed to fighting the savage program of all cuts that will effect every man, woman and child in this area and beyond.
 
2. Name Of Organization
The name of the organization will be the Rotherham Against the Cuts (RAC)

3. Aims And Objectives
The group has been set up to oppose all public spending cuts and attacks on the public, private, voluntary and community sectors in Rotherham, and to support and show solidarity with those who resist these attacks.
Our aim is to bring together and involve the different communities and trades unions across Rotherham to build a united resistance. It will invite all such campaigns and all trade unions to affiliate in order to unite and co-ordinate our efforts across Rotherham. RAC is open to support and affiliation from political parties.
We, RAC, shall not accept membership from any organisation and/or individual that espouses discrimination based on age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or creed as unity is impossible if these things go unchallenged.

4. Affiliation
The group will seek affiliations from Trades Union branches, groups and organizations. The cost will be £50*(minimum for local Trade Union Branches; for regional branches, amount will be discretionary, but must be higher than the amount for local branches) £5* (minimum for small local groups). Membership for individuals will cost £1.

5. Governance
RAC shall have an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM) as and when necessary for the furthering of our Aims and Objectives. The constitution can only be amended at an AGM or EGM.

RAC shall function as an open, transparent and democratic group and will form committees when necessary. Its decisions will be made by simple majority vote.

RAC will hold open meetings at least once a month. Up until the first AGM, while the organisation is broadening its base of affiliates, RAC will take decisions on the basis of one vote for each person present.

Prior to an AGM, we will hold an EGM to decide the weighting of the different groups and affiliations attending and voting at the AGM.

RAC Committees should strive at all times to be representative of the wider community in their make-up, and make the Chair a rotating post, who will facilitate meetings and will be acknowledged to be the current representative of the organisation.

The AGM will elect officers to act as an executive between meetings, to carry forward decisions taken; deal with press, publicity and correspondence; and respond to events. Any emergency decisions taken will be reported to and ratified by the Steering Committee. The RAC officers may include a Chair, a Vice-Chairs, a Treasurer, a Publicity officer, a Press officer a Membership Secretary and so, and will be supported by small committees.

6. Finance.
All the monies raised by the group shall be applied to further the aims and objectives of the group.
The Treasurer shall keep proper accounts of the finance of the group and shall maintain a bank account.
The group shall bank at a place suitable for access for the Treasurer.
Two signatures from a stated list of three shall be required to withdraw money from the group’s account.
Members shall be reimbursed agreed expenses incurred whilst undertaking approved (by committee) business expenses on behalf of the group. Any expense over £50 must be agreed by the committee.
The group will ensure that all accounts are independently examined at the end of each year.

7. Powers
In order to achieve its aims the group may:
Raise money
Open bank accounts
Work with similar groups and exchange information and advice.
Do anything, which is lawful, which helps to fulfill its aims.

8. Alterations to the Constitution
Any changes to this constitution must be agreed by two thirds of those present and voting at the AGM.

9. Dissolution
The Group may be wound up at any time if agreed by two- thirds of those members present and voting at the AGM. In the event of winding up, any assets, after debts have been paid, shall be given to another group with similar aims.

10. Adoption of the Constitution.
Until the first AGM takes place the persons whose names, addresses and signatures appear at the bottom of this document shall act as the Management Committee referred to in this constitution.

The constitution was adopted on 2nd August 2011 by Neil Adshead, Chris Bingham, Tom Donaldson, Ralph Dyson Linzi Haynes, Simon Thorne, Brian Todd, Ben Vergara, constituting themselves as the valid representatives of RAC and in the presence of the elected Treasurer (Tom Donaldson) and Publicity Officer (Chris Bingham).

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Meeting Report: 26/07/2011

Rotherham Against the Cuts Meeting:
Tuesday, 5th July 2011, 7:30pm. Bridge Inn.
Chair: Neil Adshead

It was decided to have a meeting to finalise and agree the Constitution - this will be Tuesday 2nd August at the Bridge Inn at 7:30pm. NB This meeting is to discuss and finalise the Constitution ONLY!

The next RAC general meeting will be tuesday 9th August at the Bridge Inn at 7:30pm.

some contacts that have been made with community groups were discussed. We await replies.

A campaign of Letter-writing to the advertised was agreed on, to be organised by MH.

A Communications committee was agreed to be set up to take responsibility for leaflets, petitions and blog-content. Volunteers to be on this committee are requested.

Discussion around another public meeting was left open-ended pending further developments in the autumn regarding strikes and Trade Union actions.

It was agreed that stalls should be a strictly RAC forum but with literature from Unions and Youth campaigns to be accepted. It was agreed that the stall needed more literature - this was one way of helping to meet that need.

Unison (health branch) have provided an amended NHS petition (including RAC reference) to use on the stall.

Discussion of Manchester Tory Conference demo, Jarrow March and General strike.

Linzi Haynes stepped down as Treasurer and Tom Donaldson took up the post.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Praise for RAC!!!

Here are a couple of letters recently sent in to the Advertiser supporting the work of RAC! We'd like to thank the authors for their kind words, and we'd like to urge the rest of you to come and join us!

"Sir, Just done my Saturday morning shopping in Rotherham and had the pleasure of chatting to the Rotherham Against the Cuts (RAC) group.

They listen politely and give out advice on what we should be doing to fight the cuts.

They sooth frayed nerves through people being sick and tired of being sick and tired at having their lives ruined by ideologies and fat cats in London.

We’re all in it together they say. How have the cuts affected them? Not by much I should imagine. I know I’ve been affected through my health, social services, housing, education and employment.

These are to name a few areas where the cuts have touched. Most of Rotherham have or will be going through the same carry on.

This is only going to get worse. So I say good luck to the lads and lasses of RAC. They have our future in their hands and are, as we speak, trying to put it on a good footing.

All they need is a little help from us and I for one am going to give it. They seem to be the only team that cares, nobody else gives a monkey’s. The cuts are coming to a place near you so be prepared."

"Sir, May I say, I completely agree with Mr Jeff Sheard's letter showing support for "rotherham against the cuts".

These diehard lefties know what is coming, Rotherham will suffer from these cuts, we have already seen meals on wheels gone, laundry service gone, attacks on the youth and vulnerable by a Labour Party which has completely lost touch, not only with the working class but with the population in general.

Labour leader Harold Macmillan once said "the Labour Party is a moral crusade or nothing at all".
It is fast becoming nothing at all. 

Four million voters have deserted Labour, the working class the working poor and the absolute poor are screaming out for a new party with morals and principles.

I would say the Socialist Workers' party are the only party left with an alternative and it's a shame the rotherham workers (private sector and public sector) don't support this party when it comes to elections.

We need thousands more Jeff Sheards who take time to stop and listen and make that change from mainstream greed, back to morals and principles and fairness - something that's been lacking in the UK for last 30 years."

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Rotherham Community School Photo Montage

A montage of photos from the RCS Kids not Cuts campaign in Rawmarsh. in the words of the creator, one of "RCS NUT's finest", it will "remind everyone of how we stood together in the face of an unprecedented attack and gained strength and determination from our solidarity. It exemplified what a union should be and I hope the images inspire people to maintain the same courage and commitment for the battles that lie ahead. If all else fails just think of the other unions and that should scare you back to the picket lines. I'll be waiting!"

Public Meeting Report: 14/07/2011

Rotherham Against the Cuts Public Meeting:
Thursday, 14th July 2011, 7:30pm, Bridge Inn.
Chair: Martin Hickman (RAC Sec.)
Speakers: Gavin Stevenson, Ralph Dyson.

Around 20 people attended. Gavin reported on the activities of Barnsley Students around the strikes of 30th June, highlighting the importance of involving young people in RAC and anti-cuts movements in general.

Ralph reported on the activites he was involved with on the 30th June, including picketing, speaking at RAC rally in Rotherham town Centre and marching in Sheffield. Ralph highlighted the importance of continuing to build RAC.

Many contributions from the floor restated RAC's commitment to making links with Trade Unions and students, whilst also making attempts to contact community groups and workers on the frontline, facing the cuts.

Next meeting confirmed for the 26th July at the Bridge Inn.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Meeting Report: 05/07/2011

Rotherham Against the Cuts Meeting:
Tuesday, 5th July 2011, 7:30pm. Bridge Inn.
Chair: Jill Adams

Draft constitutions were distributed to all who had not recieved them for perusal and further discussion. Insufficient members were in attendence to further discuss.

Speakers for the Public meeting, set for Thursday 14th July, were discussed. Still waiting for confirmation.

The next RAC meeting was set for Tuesday 26th July at the Bridge Inn

The email address (rothagainstcuts@hotmail.co.uk) was discussed and in the interests of confidentiality, only Chris Bingham will have DIRECT access to the email address and mailing list.

Further activities were discussed. RAC members to report back at the next meeting.

Jayne Fitzgerald was asked to produced a questionnaire to find out what cuts are affecting people and how. These are to be used on stalls, at the public meetings and possibly on facebook.

RAC vinyl banner will be produced.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

June 30th Leaflet

Strikes - Pickets and Rally report!

RAC activist turned out to pickets at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology (RCAT) as well as the Rotherham Jobcentre.

A fine morning saw RAC activists join the UCU/NUT/PCS/ATL pickets in Rotherham town centre from 7- 9. Although mainly at th RCAT site, activists visit Rotherham Job Centre to lend support and show solidarity.

After the pickets (and a brief coffee break) activists handed out literature and helped gather numbers for the Rally in All Saints Square at 11am.

Around 50 people turned out to the rally, where speakers addressed the crowd standing proudly between Union banners. Messages of determined solidarity and commitment were well recieved before many of the assembled continued over to Sheffield to join the demonstrations there.

Another positive and encouraging turn out for RAC, the unions and all Rotherham folk show that the fight back is growing and solidarity and resistance is growing!

Further reports and pictures to follow!!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Meeting Report: 21/06/2011

Rotherham Against the Cuts Meeting:
Tuesday, 21th June 2011, 7:00pm. Bridge Inn.
Chair: Jill Adams

Draft constitutions were distributed for perusal and further discussion.

A rally for the 30th June was set for 11am in All Saints Square - speakers to be confirmed.

A post-Strike Public meeting was set for Thursday 14th July - details to be confirmed.

The next RAC meeting was set for Tuesday 5th July at the Bridge In at 7:30pm.

Martin Hickman  was accepted as RAC Secretary, and Mick Duggan  was accepted as RAC Vice-Chair.

RAC logos are to be circulated by Ralph Dyson and an RAC vinyl banner will be produced, pending agreement of the logo.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Defend Rotherham Central Library.

Rotherham Borough Council's Cabinet Members have quietly made plans to destroy Rotherham Central Library.

On a recent visit to the Central Library, I asked library staff if they had any information regarding the cuts they would be facing. Although there was general awareness that cuts would come, they had very little detail of any cuts. The only concrete news they had was that the library itself was being demolished and being relocated to the new government building opposite the police station.

According to staff, there had been plans to build a new library, but these had been abandoned in the light of massive council budget cuts.

I was unaware of these plans and did a little research to see if I had missed any announcements.

There was an article from August 2010 on the council website which, obviously, gave an upbeat account of the council plans. Written, typically enough, as straight propaganda it gave no indication of any public concern that the plans would not be welcome by the community. (Click here to read the article).

No article relating to this news appears on the Rotherham Advertiser search engine (which covers the Advertiser, Record and the Dearne Valley Weekender).

- Chris Bingham

-----Supplementary (02/08/2011) -----

Article from BBC I just exhumed... "Town library to have new location in Rotherham"

Campaign Stall Report

Activists continue the campaign!

Hundreds of leaflets were handed out last Saturday publicising the forthcoming RAC meeting on the 21st June, to join the Facebook group and to follow the blog, and calling on members of the public to get involved and help build numbers for the demonstrations that will be held on the 30th June.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Civil servants vote for strike over cuts to pensions, jobs and pay

"More than a quarter of a million civil and public servants today joined teachers in voting for a strike over cuts to their pensions, as well as jobs and pay." Expect to see RAC activists on the pickets. This article appears on the PCS website.

In a national ballot 61.1% of PCS's quarter of a million civil and public service members voted for a strike and 83.6% voted for other forms of industrial action, on a 32.4% turnout.

Meeting this afternoon, PCS's national executive committee confirmed the union will prepare for a strike on Thursday 30 June and will work with the National Union of Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the University and College Union to co-ordinate any action. This will be followed by a month-long ban on overtime.

Unless the government does an about-turn on its plans to force public sector workers to work longer and pay more for much less pension in retirement, this first joint strike will include 750,000 public servants. And there is also a very real prospect of hundreds of thousands more workers joining the dispute later in the year.

The union says the government's slash and burn approach to tackling the budget deficit will mean vital public services are axed, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will be thrown out of work, and those that remain will have their pay and pensions cut.

Ministers have fixed the terms of negotiations over public sector pensions to seriously undermine the possibility of an agreement being reached. They also admit that money cut from pensions will go to the Treasury to help pay off the deficit, not into pension schemes, which the union says amounts to a tax on working in the public sector.

They have accepted Lord Hutton's proposals - which mean members of civil service pension schemes face a doubling or tripling of their contributions as well as having to work longer for less pension - and have ruled out any negotiations on their decision to use the CPI measure of inflation to uprate pensions instead of RPI.

The government is sticking to its proposals despite the National Audit Office, Lord Hutton himself and most recently the Commons public accounts committee confirming public sector pensions are affordable now and sustainable in future.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This result shows that public servants, who provide vital services from the cradle to the grave, will not stand back while everything they have ever worked for is taken from them.

"The government admits that money cut from pensions will go straight to the Treasury to help pay off the deficit in what is nothing more than a tax on working in the public sector. The very modest pay and pensions of public servants did not cause the recession, so they should not be blamed or punished for it.

"Unless ministers abandon their ideological plans to hollow out the public sector, they will face industrial action on a mass scale on 30 June and beyond."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Failure in bid to save cashier service

RAC were present at the lobby of the Council Cabinet. This article from The Rotherham Advertiser describes the protest and demonstration, and the implications of the council's failure to listen to the demands of the people.

PLANS to shake up council payment services have been given the green light despite protests from thousands of people.

Almost 4,000 people signed a petition in objection to sweeping changes which union bosses claim will see the loss of two thirds of all cashiers’ jobs at Rotherham Borough Council’s neighbourhoods offices.

UNISON have warned that removing the option to pay council bills at the district offices would also make life harder for service users.

 But councillors approved the scrapping of the cashier service at Wath, Greasbrough, Rawmarsh and Kimberworth Park despite the petition and lobbying ahead of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting at the Town Hall.

A council spokesman denied union claims that the move would lead to up to 17 job losses, adding: “We will, as much as possible, try to implement the improved services to customers without the need to look at losing staff on a compulsory basis.”

The spokesman said that a number of staff had already enquired about voluntary redundancy and others could be redeployed.

Val Broomhead, convenor at UNISON Rotherham, said the union was disappointed by the move.

“This service is a lifeline for many people as a source of advice and support and two thirds of staff are now threatened with losing their jobs,” she said.

Mrs Broomhead said that the proposed changes to the cashier service had been approved despite limited consultation with staff, service users and trade unions, adding: “We will be looking at the legal implications of that.”

Householders will be asked to make payments at PayPoints, online, or by travelling to other council offices.

The council is working with its IT partner RBT and council housing firm 2010 Rotherham Ltd to introduce payment facilities at more than 140 new outlets across Rotherham—and more beyond—using customer service centres, post offices and PayPoint locations.