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 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).