Tag Archive: fbu


Save Our Fire ServiceSupport The FBU Strike next week

FBU, 23/09/2013
For two years now our Officials have been in consultation with the  Government under its reform of public sector pension bill, the FBU’s aim is to achieve an occupational pension scheme that fits our occupation that is to say that one that the vast majority of firefighters can reasonable expect to work until retirement. However just before Parliament broke up for its summer recess it announced to the FBU that it was going to draw to a head the consultation and gave us a deadline to agree with their proposals or they would impose a worse scheme upon us. The FBU could not agree with the proposals put forward by CLG as primarily they are unworkable, do not fit the occupation and would lead to mass dismissals of firefighters without a pension or a job but also the FBU do not consider that putting ultimatums to our members is a good way of doing business.
There has been many independent reports completed over the two years, some commissioned by the FBU and some by the Government. This evidence has been used in the consultation and not once has it been disputed or discredited as these reports and evidence is without doubt credible and accurate and the  government ministers can not dispute the findings which broadly support the FBU’s case but more importantly prove that the government proposals are unfair, unaffordable, unsustainable and not designed to fit our occupation. The most notable is an independent report done by Dr Williams, commissioned by the  government, paid for by the government, the author was chosen by the government and the terms and reference was detailed by the government, yet the report their report broadly supports the FBU’s case.
The FBU balloted its members to see if they were willing to take Strike action to defend their Pensions, the Ballot return was excellent 78% “Yes” to support industrial action so our members will be called to walk out the doors at 12:00hrs-16:00hrs on the 25th September, this Wednesday.
Many of our Stations/Workplaces will have a picket but some are considering other activities such as leaving the site and walking into their towns to talk to the public, some are considering marching down to their local MP’s offices and discussing the issues with them. So I guess it would be best if comrades from other trade unions or local supporters and activists want to know what might be happening in their local area please contact the local officials who will be happy to advise.The VOAG

TUSC, The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition to challenge for a seat on London Assembly

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), made up of trade union members and socialists, is to stand candidates in the Greater London Election on 3 May to challenge the all-party support for the government’s austerity cuts and pay freeze.

The coalition expects to win support from trade unionists and other voters who are angered by the recent statements of Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, in which they stated that they will not reverse the Government’s cuts and that they support its pay freeze.

A list of candidates will challenge in the ‘top up’ section of the election and if it wins at least 5% of the vote across the whole of London it could win at least one place on the 25-seat Greater London Assembly.

The coalition has already selected prominent London trade union leaders such as Alex Gordon, the national president of the RMT rail and maritime union and Steve Hedley the RMT’s London Transport regional organiser, Ian Leahair, the Fire Brigades Union executive committee member for the capital, Joe Simpson, assistant secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association and Martin Powell-Davies, who is the London representative on the national committee of the NUT teachers union.

The Labour Party will be concerned that many public sector workers who participated in the 30 November pensions’ strike may be moved to vote for this coalition because of the failure of Labour leaders to support the walk-out.

Labour leaders will also be worried that rank and file union members of Labour affiliated unions could press for their funds to go to a party like TUSC instead of to Labour.

Steve Hedley, whose RMT union was expelled from the Labour Party in 2004 for backing the Scottish Socialist Party, said, “We need candidates who support the ordinary man and woman. TUSC is the only organisation that opposes all cuts, defends pensions and benefits for all working people. Labour just wants a compliant, silent union movement to hand over its money. TUSC will be a voice for all workers and will support trade unions in struggle.”

TUSC national committee member Nick Wrack, who is also a candidate, said, “London is a city of stark contrasts. There is a huge amount of poverty amidst the plenty. Corporate bosses and bankers still get their million pound pay and pension packages while one in six London workers is paid less than the Mayor’s £8.30 per hour living wage. Millions are suffering from the cuts to services and benefits yet last year the city paid out over £4 billion in bonuses. It’s extremely hard even for those on better wages to make ends meet. We believe that there is an opportunity for a party that will speak up for working-class London to make a real break-through and that would begin to change the nature of political debate in Britain today.” TUSC believes it can get a candidate elected if it wins at least 150,000 votes across London.

Candidates selected for the TUSC GLA list so far include (in alphabetical order):
April Ashley, UNISON National Executive Committee

Alex Gordon, RMT President
Steve Hedley, RMT London regional organiser
Ian Leahair, FBU National Executive Committee
Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive
Joe Simpson, POA assistant secretary
Jenny Sutton, UCU Chair, London Regional Committee (FE)
Nick Wrack, TUSC national committee member (former chair of Socialist Alliance and Respect)
There will also be candidates from the CWU postal union and the PCS public service workers union.
(All standing in a personal capacity)

The final list is not yet decided. Other candidates are still being considered.
The FBU has 5,500 members in London.
The RMT has over 12,000 members in London Underground alone

 TUSC CONFERENCE: Saturday 28 January 2012,
11:00am – 4:00pm, University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY
http://www.tusc.org.uk

OUR PENSIONS ARE IN DANGER
Demonstrate March 26th.

The Independent Public Service Pensions Commission, headed by John Hutton, released its report two days ago. Even before the report was released, the Government announced they were increasing employee contributions by 50%. The government also announced ahead of the report that pensions will be accrued using the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the current retail price index (RPI). This will slash about 15 per cent from the average pension values.

A crucial proposal of The Hutton report is to change public sector pensions from a final salary based pension to a “career average pension”. This follows last autumn’s proposals in the Comprehensive Spending Review to increase pension contributions by 3%. Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey, described it as a “£2. 8 billion annual ’raid’ on public sector pensions” and said: “Ministers were using the public sector pension funds as a piggy bank.”

The report supported the government’s plans to raise the retirement age to 65, which will further reduce pension calculations as people begin to retire before the pension age. It also reaffirms George Osborne’s plans for a Pension tax that seeks to impose an annual £1billion levy on members of the Local Government Pension Scheme.

Already many lower-paid public service workers cannot afford to be part of the pension scheme. One in four workers who are eligible to join the scheme opt out, and participation levels are on a downward trend. Huttons recommendations will exasperate the situation. Many workers, after a life time of public service will retire at 65 and live out their retirement in penury. A GMB Union survey of its members, who are in the LGPS (Local Government Pension Scheme) found that 39% – 53% would opt out if the Osborne Pension Tax was imposed.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS Union (Public and Commercial Services) said: “For civil servants, increased costs would go straight to the Treasury to pay off the deficit. Even the Bank of England governor Mervyn King admits it would mean the wrong people were paying for the recession and agrees with us that public spending did not cause the financial crisis”.

National Union of Teachers General Secretary, Christine Blower said: “increasing pension contributions by more than half will cost newly qualified teachers up to £61 a month and experienced classroom teachers up to £102 a month – an additional cost which will see many leaving the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme”. She added: “The real pension problem is in the private sector where two-thirds of employees are not in any employer-backed scheme. We need decent pensions for all.”

Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, remarked yesterday: “There is a lot of nonsense talked about public sector pensions – they are not gold plated. The average is very low -in local government, the average is just over £4,000, falling to £2,800 for women”.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: “This is the great pension’s robbery and is completely unacceptable to fire-fighters across the UK”. “Expecting fire-fighters to work until they are 60 is wrong. Fire fighting is a physically arduous job. Peak fitness is essential where seconds can cost lives. The public will not want an ageing frontline fire and rescue service.”

“These proposals are unacceptable. The Fire Brigades Union has a warning for the chancellor. Reject Hutton’s pension proposals or you’ll be playing with fire. Fire-fighters simply won’t accept them.”

Bob Cow reacted to the report saying: “Pensions are nothing other than deferred wages – staff pay into these schemes to avoid freezing to death in their old age”. “The Hutton Review will be the spark that lights the blue touch paper of co-ordinated strike action”.

Most Union leaders are offering nothing more than vague threats of unspecified “co-ordinated action”, whilst wasting their time begging the government to sit round the table and discuss the pension issue.

The UCU (University and College Union), however are already planning strikes across the country. These are due to take place between the 17th and 24th of March. Sally Hunt, the general secretary said: “pensions compensate for the lower salaries lecturers receive for researching and teaching in universities, compared to what they would get if they chose to use their highly-specialised knowledge and skills elsewhere”.

There is a lot of misinformation about public sector pension schemes. The facts are:

  • The local government and NHS pension schemes were renegotiated in 2006 to make them sustainable and affordable.
  • Both schemes are cash rich – more is going in than coming out.
  • Currently the NHS Pension Scheme returns a surplus of £2.3bn to Treasury enabling it to fund Government spending in other areas, such as boosting state pension provision for all. The LGPS has an annual cash flow surplus of £4bn.
  • The legacy of making swingeing cuts to the pension provision for 20% of the population, or pricing them out of pension saving altogether, will be increased pensioner poverty and more pressure on state benefits and public services.
  • The average pension in public service pension schemes is very low, for example in local government, the average is just over £4,000, falling to £2,800 for women.
  • If these people didn’t save for their retirement, they would have to rely on means-tested benefits paid for by the taxpayer.
  • Pensioners are already being hit with the move from RPI to CPI to calculate annual inflation increases – this will reduce their value by 15%.
  • When the NHS scheme was renegotiated, protection was built in for current members to retain their retirement age of 60. New members have a retirement age of 65. If that agreement is broken, industrial action could follow.
  • Government cuts to local government employers grants mean that the shortfall in pension contributions has to be made up by employees. They may have to pay between 50% and 100% more for a reduced pension. This is effectively a tax on low paid workers.
  • Studies have shown that if the contributions rise too much, workers will desert the local government scheme and it could collapse.
  • The local government scheme invests more than £100billion in the UK economy. If the scheme collapsed, it would have a devastating impact on the economy.

The Fire Brigades Union is warning that cuts to the fire and rescue service will put lives at risk, after a spate of high-profile house fires. The union advises the public to “get out and stay out” in the event of a fire and to call professional fire-fighters to tackle any blaze.

However the union is warning that cuts will worsen the service. Government figures show that average response times to house fires have slowed over the last decade from 5.5 minutes to 7.3 minutes.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: “Every second counts when there’s a fire. Our job as fire-fighters is to rescue people and we aim to get to every incident as quickly as we can.

“But the public should know that cutting fire-fighter jobs, fewer fire engines and other cuts will delay our intervention. The planned cuts to the service will cost lives if they go ahead. They must be stopped. The FBU wants fire services and councils across the UK to follow the example of the Scottish government and investigate how to improve response times to house fires”.

Here in Surrey, the council is preparing to cut the fire service by 25%. Many stations will loose their night time cover. Others will see a reduction in fire engines and redundancies are planned across the board.

For example Conservative Council is shutting Staines fire station from 7pm to 7am every night, leaving Staines without night fire cover.

Residents and anti-cuts activists will be converging on Staines fire station at Falcon Drive, Stanwell, to protest against the cuts.

The protest is supported by Save Our Services in Surrey, Guildford Against Fees And Cuts, Staines Labour Party, local unions and of course The Voice of Anti-Capitalism in Guildford- as well as many others.

Your support will be very much appreciated. Yet again, Tory cuts are taking priority over people and in this case human rights. But together we can reverse the cuts.

So please try and make it to Staines if you can.  Saturday, February 26 · 11:00am – 2:00pm

DETAILS:
Assemble on the green in Falcon Drive for 11:00am
Protest down Flacon drive and turn right into Claire Road.
Protest down to Town Lane and take a left towards Staines fire station to hear talks from the unions and the labour party.

Speakers from:
-FBU
-GMB
-UNISON
-Save Our Services In Surrey
-The Labour Party

Please join the Facebook events page for more details and to show your support. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=103785973033803

Please don’t forget about the TUC National demonstration against the cuts in London, March 26th. There is subsidised coach travel leaving Staines, Guildford, Woking and Redhill. Just £2.00 Rtn. All are welcome. See Facebook event for details:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=103785973033803#!/event.php?eid=178381258861986

To buy a coach ticket on line visit www.saveourservic.es
Or email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

 

Activists from around the UK are planning to occupy Hyde park for the night, after the March 26th TUC demonstration against the cuts.

Their plan, says organisers, is to participate in the TUC demonstration and various actions on March 26th, then occupy Hyde Park as a temporary free zone. A village in the center of London where people can camp, organise, relax, eat, dance and hatch plots.

“Hyde Park should be used as a launch pad and base for actions, and demonstrations for the following 24 hours. A safe convergence space for spontaneous marches and demonstrations throughout the weekend”. “A space to create a micro society based on mutual aid, respect and combined power to hold a siege of London which will have those in power running for the panic room”.

Marching from A to B, listening to some speechifying bureaucrats, and then going home empty-handed is not an option. Thousands have already pledged their support. The Facebook event has 1500 people attending –and the number is growing daily.

The idea of the occupation is to reach out to layers of trade unionists and others who would otherwise just get the coach home. People who share the view that the TUC leadership’s gestures and speechifying aren’t enough- but who are not yet ready to occupy buildings or break the law. We need to find a way to reach out to people like this – and this could be it.

The vision is for the “Temporary Occupied zone of Hyde Park” to be the RED BASE from which a hundred tentacles reach out. Hyde Park will prove to be as big and as powerful as the March itself, and who knows what a radicalising  experience it might be compared to a deflating coach ride home? The demo itself will be a truly historic occasion with over 1 million people expected to attend. The largest march of its kind in UK history. It’s the first national demonstration called by the TUC since 1926- And that one ended in a general strike.The STAY 4 1 DAY will only work if people keep spreading the word on social networking sites. So make the effort to spread it round. Think of the Ceaucescu like look on Brendon Barber’s face as the cry of STAY reaches him from the back of the Park. The game will be up

Egyptian oil workers hear of the Hyde Park occupation in London

 

Facebook event for STAY 4 1 DAY – http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=196454957048306 Spread like wildfire!

Remember: There is subsidised travel leaving from Guildford. Just £2.00 RTN (If you don’t fancy staying and partying in Hyde Park)
Coaches are subsidised by Surrey Unison. All are welcome. Buy a ticket online at www.saveourservic.es or email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk.

For more details see the events page on Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040?v=app_2344061033&ref=ts#!/event.php?eid=178381258861986&index=1

Hundreds of students chased Aaron Porter through Manchester Yesterday

National Union of Students President Aaron Porter was unable to speak at the rally of today’s NUS/UCU demonstration in Manchester, after hundreds of angry students chased him off the streets.

As protesters gathered at the starting point on Oxford Road, about thirty activists from Hull Students Against Fees and Cuts and Leeds University Against Cuts accosted Porter and demanded that he justify his record. Instead of engaging with us, Porter turned and hurried off – only to find himself followed by growing numbers of demonstrators from across the North. Within a couple of minutes he was literally being chased through the streets of Manchester by about half those who had gathered at that point – certainly more than five hundred people – with chants including “Students, workers, hear us shout, Aaron Porter sold us out” and “Porter – out”. Eventually he took refuge in Manchester Metropolitan Students’ Union, protected by a heavy cordon of riot police.

Aaron Porter is ushered into Manchester University, pursued by 500 students

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Porter did not turn up to speak at the closing rally. Instead, the NUS was represented by his deputy, Vice-President Further Education Shane Chowan – who was unable to finish his speech after he was drowned out by hostile chanting and pelted with eggs.

The rally was deathly dull, with trade union bureaucrat after trade union bureaucrat telling us what we already knew (with the partial exception of Matt Wrack from the FBU, who gave a fairly militant performance). The atmosphere among the protesters – overwhelmingly students – was very different. Most of the speakers were heckled repeatedly, and chants about student-worker unity, the need for strike action and the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt were very popular. After the end of the rally, about a thousand students marched independently into town, led by the student left (NCAFC, SWP, Workers’ Liberty, Revolution, anarchists). We were met by a huge and violent police presence, and at the time of writing many of us are still kettled on Deansgate in central Manchester – though having comrades sing the Internationale with us from across the road helped keep up our spirits.

After the chasing off of Aaron Porter, one other bit of good news. Pat Murphy, a comrade who sits on the National Union of Teachers executive, told us today that the committee had, on his initiative, voted to delete a proposal to invite Porter to speak at NUT conference in April. Hated and hunted by his own members, Porter is starting to be shunned by many trade unionists too.
Report by National Campaign Against Fees And Cuts. http://anticuts.com

Today, it was reported in the Telegraph and Daily Mail that Aaron Porter is claiming he was subjected to a “barrage” of racist and homophobic abuse. National Campaign Against Fees And Cuts (NCAFC) supporters were at the front of the crowd who chased Porter. They strenuously deny there were any racist or homophobic chants, let alone a barrage. Members of NCAFC maintain Porter has invented the whole thing in order to salvage some sympathy. The NCAFC have released a statement saying:

“Demonstrators expressed their bitterness and anger at the NUS leadership’s repeated betrayal of their interests and struggles. The ludicrous claims of racism simply show how desperate Aaron Porter and his friends are becoming. They should be ashamed of themselves for abusing the struggle against racism in this way. An NCAFC supporter added: “we are disgusted at attempts by papers like the Telegraph and the Mail – with its foul history, including support for Oswald Mosely’s anti-semitic Blackshirt movement, and its staple diet of anti-migrant agitation – to pose as champions of anti-racism”.

The embedded video below shows the incident. There are no homophobic or racist chants.

A Leeds University student was quoted in the Mail saying: “Porter is not representing us because he is not trying to stop this Government. He should be arguing to stop the cuts. We went to confront him to tell him what we thought and he ran away with a police escort.’

Meanwhile in London
An estimated 5,000 students and trade union supporters marched through central London to Westminster. The march assembled at ULU and marched to Millbank. Then many of the marchers carried on through the streets to the Egyptian embassy to join protesters there. Small demonstrations continued around the West End into the evening, causing many Vodafone stores to close early.

TRANSPORT UNION RMT today called on its members and the entire trade union movement to get out on the streets in full support of the student fees protests and to pile the pressure on Lib Dem MP’s as the first signs of major cracks in the ConDem coalition begin to open up.

RMT has written to all its branches and is directly emailing and texting members urging them to support the local protests.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow,  said: the students supported our tube members on their picket lines and next week we will be out shoulder to shoulder with the students in their protests over the jacking up of tuition fees.

“It is essential that the entire Labour and Trade Union Movement gives full support to the student protests – this extraordinary grass roots movement has caught the ConDems on the hop and when your enemy is reeling you don’t give them a chance to regroup, you mobilise the maximum pressure that you can and that’s what RMT is doing right now.

“The Lib Dem lies don’t just cover their pre-election statements on tuition fees, you can throw their broken promises on rail fare increases, VAT and cuts in jobs and services into the mix as well.

“The cracks are opening up in this ConDem coalition and there’s no point biding our time – the students have got them on the run and the trade union movement should throw everything we can into supporting next week’s protests.”

Follow the links below to find out how you can get involved. Email guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk
Or join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page.

13th Jan: Save Our Services in Surrey – Steering Meeting (Open to All)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=115328261872959&index=1

26th Jan: Day Of Action Against Fees And Cuts – Bring Back The EMA
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177432278957583&index=1

“The share of the national output going to wage earners fell from 65 percent in 1975 to 53 percent in 2007.” (New Political Economy Network)

The British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government’s austerity measures will throw almost 1 million more people into poverty over the next three years, including hundreds of thousands of children.

These are the findings of a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank, produced in collaboration with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

In October, the coalition government announced public spending cuts of £83 billion, including significant cuts in welfare benefits and a wage freeze across the public sector. The measures are not only a deepening of efforts to force working people to carry the cost of the Labour government’s multibillion-pound bailout of the banks. They mark a significant escalation in the attempts of successive governments to force down wages and fully dismantle essential social and welfare provision.

The IFS forecasts that there will be an exponential increase in the numbers of children and adults living in absolute and relative poverty, and a stagnation in the incomes of the broad mass of the population.

The numbers in absolute poverty—defined as households with income of less than 60 percent of the median in 2010/2011, adjusted for inflation—will rise by 900,000 by the end of 2014. Of these, some 200,000 will be children, the first rise in absolute child poverty in 15 years.

The numbers forecast to be pushed into relative poverty are just as damning. The benchmark for relative poverty is determined by median income. But, the IFS states, this target will itself fall, due to the decline in real earnings. As a consequence, relative poverty is forecast to rise by approximately 800,000.

The government’s cuts in housing and welfare benefits, combined with the previous Labour government’s decision to raise National Insurance contributions from next year, hit across the board. Poverty amongst working-age adults without children is expected to rise by 300,000 and 200,000 for absolute and relative poverty respectively.

Families with two children on “middle-incomes” have already suffered a 3.4 percent decline over the past two years, the IFS reported. They earned £988 a year less in 2010 than in 2008. They are expected to lose a further £300 in real terms over the next two years under the government’s spending cuts.

The IFS predictions come under conditions in which almost 2 million children in Britain are already living in conditions of “severe poverty” and fully 4 million are living in poverty.

The government’s measures have been condemned by anti-poverty charities—the very organisations tasked with filling the gap of declining social provision under the coalition’s grotesquely named “Big Society” plan.

They complained that the IFS projections will place the government in breach of the Child Poverty Act, passed into law earlier this year, which commits current and future governments to cut relative child poverty to 10 percent and absolute child poverty to 5 percent over the next decade.

But the government has already stated that it intends to redefine poverty so that “isn’t just about getting above an arbitrary line, but is about improving people’s life chances.”

It was Conservative Howard Flight who gave vent to the class sentiment motivating the assault on welfare. Speaking last month, just after he was selected as one of more than 20 new Tory peers, Flight complained that child benefit was being removed from higher earners. “We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive. But for those on benefits, there is every incentive. Well, that’s not very sensible”, he said.

His remarks came barely a week after Lord Young, one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s senior advisers, was forced to resign after stating, “For the vast majority of people in the country today, they have never had it so good ever since this so-called recession—started.”

A Treasury spokesperson dismissed the IFS report, claiming that “uncertainty” in the model it had employed meant that the “small differences they identify may not be meaningful”.

Elements of the coalition’s cuts package were also criticised by the Labour Party. The real measure of its stance, however, is made clear by the fact that it is Labour MP Frank Field who is drawing up the government report on “redefining” child poverty.

The coalition’s austerity measures come after a 30-year period in which successive governments have conducted a systematic assault on the social position of working people.

According to a report by the New Political Economy Network, the share of the national output going to wage earners fell from 65 percent in 1975 to 53 percent in 2007. It was Labour that fuelled the increase in the “working poor”. Through its various welfare “credits,” it ensured that business had access to a large army of workers on minimum pay, funded at taxpayers’ expense.

During the same time frame, as wage rises fell behind productivity, personal debt as a proportion of disposable income rose from 45 percent in 1980 to 160 percent in 2007.

As the report noted, “People did not borrow to increase their consumption. They borrowed to compensate for wages that were increasingly falling behind productivity increases. As household debt rocketed between 2001 and 2007, levels of consumption as a proportion of GDP actually fell”.

Even prior to the 2008 financial collapse, Labour’s policies had led to a vast increase in social inequality. A survey by the National Equality Panel based on figures from 2007/2008 found that the richest 10 percent of the population were over 100 times wealthier than the poorest 10 percent, and that income inequality had reached its highest point since the end of the Second World War.

Now, unemployment has crossed the 2.5 million mark, rising by 35,000 in the three months to October. Much of this was accounted for by the fall in pubic sector employment by 33,000, as the spending cuts began to make their mark.

The situation is even worse amongst the young. The number of 18- to 24-year-olds claiming unemployment benefit has quadrupled since 2008, from 5,840 to more than 25,800. In July, UKJobs.net reported that the average annual salary had dropped by more than £2,600 in the past six months, with across-the-board wages falling from £28,207 to £25,543.

As a consequence of huge levels of indebtedness, rising unemployment and the undermining of welfare provision, millions are now threatened with penury.

According to the Independent, the number of emergency welfare loans paid out to people in dire distress has almost trebled in the last five years. More than 3.6 million “crisis loans” were made in the last financial year—up from 1.3 million in 2005/2006. The government has now said that, from April, Job Centre staff will begin issuing vouchers for people to exchange for emergency food supplies.

The Bank of England has also forecast a tightening financial squeeze on many families due to soaring commodity and utility prices, and the planned Value Added Tax hike to 20 percent from January 1. It warned that more than one in two people with unsecured debts are struggling to cope. This is especially the case where some credit companies are charging up to 2,600 percent interest a year.

On Monday, the Confederation of British Industry warned that interest rates would have to rise almost sixfold due to inflation over the next 24 months—from 0.5 percent to 2.75 percent by 2012. This would mean millions of homeowners facing a hike of almost £200 on the average monthly mortgage payment.

Meanwhile, the directors of the FTSE 100 companies have seen their total earnings rise by an average of 55 percent over the past year. The Incomes Data Services revealed last month that chief executives at the 100 most highly capitalised firms on the London Stock Exchange had received an average of £4.9 million in total in the year to June.

Don’t just sit there – Join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page for local news and details of events in Guildford. Get involved-Be part of the solution!
Email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

No Ifs No Buts No Education or Public Service Cuts!!

 Demonstrate Against The Cuts

 Saturday 11th December, 11.30am – Assemble Woking Railway Station

 Called By Save Our Services in Surrey.
With the participation of students and all local Trades Unions

People from all over Surrey are coming together to demonstrate against the cuts to education, the rise in university fees and the cuts to public services.

 It’s time we made our voices heard

 Here in Guildford, we want to use this demonstration to kick start a broad and democratic campaign against fees and cuts in the university and in the college- as well as the cuts to public services.

 Join the campaign: Guildford Against Fees And Cuts – Join the Facebook page for updates and information.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040

 And Join us in Woking
Read Our Statement:
https://suacs.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/guildford-against-fees-andcuts-2.doc

Guildford Against Fees And Cuts

All over Guildford, Surrey, and nationwide, people are realising the full impact of the ConDem Coalition’s cuts agenda and the lasting impact cuts will have on our communities.

We have seen a historic uprising of students all over the country- yet in Surrey the response has been strangely muted. Surrey University NUS booked coaches to ferry students to the 10th November demonstration but failed to build a campaign. Indeed, it was clear that the executive was reluctant to lay on transport at-all, and only did so because the demonstration was called by the National NUS. Surrey’s NUS did nothing to promote the event and refused to print or distribute posters. Some flyers were produced but they had no details of transport, time or place. The A5 flyers had only the word Demo-Lition and a date written on them. They looked like cryptic night-club flyers. This was surely an intentional device in order to limit the number of students attending the demonstration and stunt any campaign before it got started.

A meeting was held between two students and two Surrey NUS executive officers following the 10th November demonstration. In this meeting the Executives repeated many times that they did not want to see a campaign against Fees & Cuts in the University.

University Students, College Students and School Students must join with workers to fight against all cuts from all quarters. The cuts agenda is not based on fiscal considerations; it is an ideological attempt to roll back the welfare state.

 There is a real alternative to:
*The scrapping of the EMA
*The rise in fees to £9,000
*40% cut in University education funding across the board
*Total end of government funding for arts and humanities subjects in universities
*Redundancies for lecturers and support staff
*The marketisation of education, which aims to produce a two tier education system and will see many universities close.

Students, teachers, lecturers and parents must recognise that the cuts in education are part of the wider cuts to public services.

 In Surrey this means:
*Closure of the connections careers and youth advisory service
*25% cut in fire service
*The probable closure of all libraries, to be replaced by mobile libraries
*Scrapping of the Education Welfare Service
*400 redundancies at the Royal Surrey Hospital, with more to come
*The reduction of beds per ward at the Royal Surrey Hospital
*Cutting of home help service for the disabled and elderly
*Closure of youth centres and Youth Outreach Services
*There has already been a £3.5million cut in Youth Services 
*The subsidy for “less profitable” bus services scrapped –meaning less busses and the end to some routes
*Mother and Baby support service closed
*A 30% cut in government funding to the council
*Scrapping of infrastructure projects and road repair programs
*The job Centre is also due to be cut, just when unemployment is rising
*Community Support offices in Frimley, Farnham, and Staines are going to close
*Family support funding is going to be scrapped
*The council’s adult service budget is being slashed
This is just a few of the savage cuts we are seeing to our public services.

Employment is set to soar in Surrey. Funding for the National Tax Office in Woking is to be slashed, whilst large corporations get away with dodging multi-million pound tax bills.  Surrey’s primary schools have been urged to become academies thus removing the council’s responsibility for primary school education. Social workers are going to be made redundant, with those that are left doing more of the administration that support workers were doing.

But if we stand together and say NO we can reverse this attack on our living standards. The students have shown us how. The cracks in the coalition are already starting to widen, but we need to work together, the cuts aren’t going to defeat themselves.

We’ve started a F/book page “Guildford Against Fees And Cuts”. We want this to become the main conduit for communication to discuss our ideas.  Please join and post your ideas.

Most of all we need help to kick start the campaign in Guildford.
*We need help to run a stall in the University- It doesn’t matter whether you are a student.
*We need help to distribute flyers at Guildford College and in the town centre.

*We need your ideas and input, your skills and creativity.
If you are at college, university, or school. If you are a teacher, student or parent -unemployed or a worker Join the campaign:
Guildford Against Fees And Cuts – as part of the wider Save Our Services in Surrey campaign. – Help us build for the demonstrations on the 11th and 21st December.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040
Email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

 


Dates To Remember:

Thursday, December 9, at 12:00pm, Parliament Square, London
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts – March on Parliament.
This is the day parliament decides on the future of education
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=174417069252718&ref=mf

Saturday, December 11th, at 11:30am, Assemble Woking Train Station
Demonstration Against The Cuts. Called by Save Our Services in Surrey.
This promises to be a large demonstration to kick-start the campaign in Guildford and beyond. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=111862642215211&ref=mf

 Tuesday, December 21, at 12:00pm, Outside County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston, KT1
Don’t Let Them Sell Out Surrey: Lobby Surrey County Council.
The council will be deciding the fate of the Fire Service, Libraries, Youth and Senior Citizen’s services at this meeting.
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177155738977156&ref=mf

 No Ifs No Buts No Public Service or Education cuts!!! 

Join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts F/b page for updates – and post your thoughts
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040

Email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk
Botom-Of-Post - Protest