Tag Archive: staines


Notes from Save Our Services in Surrey (SOSiS) meeting in Staines on 3rd March 2011. Recorded and typed by Paul Couchman.

We had expected a smaller turnout than usual due to the long distance from other parts of Surrey but there were about a dozen activists present – almost all from the Staines and surrounding area. A number of people from the newly formed West Surrey branch of the Revolutionary Socialist Youth group also came along and were fully involved in the meeting. A key decision to advertise anti-cuts council candidates was taken, see below.

AROUND THE TABLE
There were reports around the table about cuts taking place (or planned):
*Staines Fire Station (and other Surrey stations) threatened. Night fire cover being axed.
*Cuts in colleges and universities – the University College Union (UCU) balloting for strike action.
*Threatened closure of 11 libraries
*Axing of the entire Mobile Library service
*Commissioning of Youth Services
*Closures of Childrens Centres and Surestart Centres
*Childrens Homes
*Adult Social Services – major job cuts and changes threatened in terms and conditions – UNISON balloting members around industrial action.

OFFICERS REPORTS:
CHAIR
Chris apologised for tinkering with the SOSiS website and bringing it crashing down. A replacement website has been set up and Chris is working on saving all the original information. Coach tickets for 26 March can still be bought online and the mailing list is unaffected.

 ORGANISER
Paul outlined some of the people and organisations he has been making contact with on behalf of SOSiS:
*Staines Labour Party (LP) – Paul spoke for SOSiS at the demonstration organised by the local LP to save night time fire cover at Staines Fire Station. One of the organisers was at the meeting.
*Close contact has been made with the ‘Friends’ groups at New Haw and Godalming libraries.
*A letter appeared in the local paper from the Surrey NetMums group saying they were fighting cuts to childrens centres and Surestart. Paul has made contact with them.
*MenCap (learning disability charity) have organised a series of anti-cuts roadshows and Paul is attending the Surrey event this Tuesday.
*Paul and Chris met with the leaders of Save Our Surrey Community Hospitals, which has organised big demonstrations in defence of local health services. They are open to joint activity around the NHS.

Surrey County Council Trade Union group (SCCTU) have always bee fully supportive of SOSiS and again pledged support at their last meeting – with a specific motion passed to support the Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance in their difficulties with the university management. The UCU reps said they wanted to work more closely with SOSiS around their current dispute.

Lastly, Paul was hoping to get a local NW Surrey anti-cuts group off the ground and the support and turnout at the meeting made that look very likely.

 TREASURER
Thelma was unable to make this meeting. It was reported that we have around £1,000 and that local groups and campaigns should make use of this by requesting funding for specific leaflets etc.

YOUTH AND STUDENT ORGANISER
Craig gave a full and detailed report of the amazing work and activities going on in Royal Holloway (RHUL) and in other universities and colleges in Surrey and in London.
* Lots of students turned out from RHUL and Strodes to an anti-EMA demo in January in London.
* Dan Cooper, leading anti-cuts campaigner, was elected President of NUS at RHUL.
* RHUL organised a debate on the ‘Big Society’ with a range of speakers, including from SOSiS, from the RMT and ‘False Economy’.
* RHACA (Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance) organised an occupation of a university building in London (with other * London students), setting up an anti-cuts space which was ended by bailiffs coming through skylights and dragging people out.
* It was also reported that leading anti-cuts campaigners and the RHACA have come under attack from RHUL management. SCCTU sent a message of support to the students.

REGIONAL ANTI-CUTS ASSEMBLY
It was reported that plans were under way to try to organise a regional assembly at RHUL but due to the management position this was now very unlikely. An offer has come from the UCU at University of Surrey (Guildford) to try to secure space there for an assembly after March 26th. Craig suggested that close links with the UCU at RHUL may mean pressure could still be brought to bear on the management there to allow the meeting to take place. Negotiations continue but it is our firm intention to hold a regional assembly in the near future.

 MARCH 26TH TUC DEMONSTRATION
A discussion took place and it was generally agreed that we believe this will be the biggest demonstration in the UK for decades. Coaches and trains have been booked from cities, towns and villages across the country. Every trade union is mobilising their members. UNISON in Surrey have booked four coaches from Staines, Woking, Guildford and Redhill – tickets are £2 each and selling fast. Craig informed the meeting that a student feeder march was planned on the day.

 MAY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
A discussion was started by Paul and Chris and a motion moved by Paul regarding how SOSiS can intervene in the May borough council elections without supporting any one political party. It was agreed by everyone that SOSiS needed to have a position and be able to inform the public and trade unionists regarding the anti-cuts position of candidates.

Paul moved the following motion, which was agreed unanimously after discussion:
That SOSiS puts aside a space on our website to list any and all candidates for council office who agree to sign up to the following pledge:
“If elected, I pledge to vote against ALL cuts in jobs, services, pay, terms and conditions. I will work with the trade unions and anti-cuts campaigners to defend all public services”.
That SOSiS circulates this message widely and invites candidates of all political parties and affiliations [except far right, racist and fascist parties] to contact us and sign our pledge.
This motion is completely in line with our founding principles and does not infer SOSiS support of any individual candidate or party.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Paul announced that there will be a lobby of the Labour Party Local Government Conference in London this Saturday 5th March, organised by the NSSN, the RMT and other trade unions – calling on Labour Councils not to impose cuts.

NEXT MEETING
It was agreed that we should aim to hold the next meeting on 24th March in Redhill and invite a speaker and use the meeting as a rally prior to the big TUC demo. We will also firm up and communicate any important information at that meeting regarding coaches, stewarding etc. Chris will make contact with the Redhill group to organise a venue and consider speaker/s. To make it more possible for people from this end of Surrey to attend, lifts can be arranged and/or a minibus booked. Activists who wish to go but need support to get there should contact us.

STAINES AND NORTH WEST SURREY ANTI-CUTS ALLIANCE
The majority of those attending were from the local area and, after the main meeting, all agreed to be part of a local group affiliated to SOSiS. We now have a solid group in Redhill and fledgling groups in Woking, Guildford and Staines.

There will be a SOSiS street stall on Saturday 19th March from 11am till 2pm in Staines to advertise the TUC demonstration and recruit new local activists. More details will be sent out nearer the day.

For Updates, news and events visit www.saveourservic.es or join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page.  Email: guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

REMEMBER: There are Subsidised coaches to the TUC National Demonstration in London, March 26th. All are welcome. Only £2.00 RTN. Coaches are leaving from Staines, Guildford, Redhill and Woking. Buy a ticket online using a secure paypal at www.saveourservic.es or email www.guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

 

The latest in a series of Save Our Services in Surrey meetings was held at Staines Community Centre on 3rd March.

The meeting was considerably smaller than previous meetings, but a very positive one. Although it was called at short notice, people still braved the mid-week freezing conditions. Most people were new faces, which was especially welcome.

Five of those attending the meeting, came from the newly constituted West Surrey branch of the Revolution Socialist Youth group. Revolution has been growing throughout the country with several new groups springing up. ‘Revo’s increasing popularity stems from its principled response to the cuts in education and rises to tuition fees. Revo were the main organisers of the Days Of Action against fees and cuts last year. It was Revo members in the Campaign Against Fees And Cuts that initially called for them.http://www.socialistrevolution.org/

Protest with REVO on the March 26th TUC march against cuts. Join the student feeder march outside the University of London Union, Mallet Street. (Nearest tube Goodge Street)

Unfortunately The VOAG was late for the meeting, but arrived in time to catch Craig from the Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance in Egham, give a report on their latest developments.  The Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance is one of several anti-cuts groups affiliated to Save Our Services in Surrey. Craig, who is the SOSiS Youth Officer, spoke about the violent eviction of an occupation staged in the Central London campus of the Royal Holloway University.

Craig went on to speak about the University’s clamp down on the anti-cuts movement on his own campus in Egham. The Anti-Cuts group is being intimidated and slurred by the University authorities. Police and security have entered their meetings; and the university has even tried to label them as racists. The University recently banned a meeting of theirs about the conflicts in Palestine. It featured eye witnesses who had recently been volunteering on social and economic projects in the West Bank.

Craig announced his candidature for the NUS Executive Officer for Campaigns; and went on to tell the meeting that Daniel, another member of Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance, had been elected to be their next Union President. The VOAG wishes both of them every success!

Paul, a SOSiS and Surrey Unison officer, spoke to the meeting about the coaches he had booked for the 26th March TUC demonstration against the cuts in London.

Coaches have been booked and subsidised by Surrey Unison. They will leave from Guildford, Woking, Redhill, and Staines. Tickets are only £2.00 Rtn. Buy a ticket on-line at www.saveourservic.es through the secure paypal, or email:guildfordagainstfeesandcuts@yahoo.co.uk

The VOAG doesn’t need to emphasise how important this demonstration is. It will be truly historic. There are more than two hundred Unison coaches coming from the South East region alone. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000336574245#!/event.php?eid=165255660190758

Chris from Save Our Services introduced the idea of distributing a pledge to all Labour Council candidates in the forthcoming election. The VOAG thinks this is an excellent idea. The candidates will be invited to sign the pledge, and join an on-line list of candidates who have signed.

A member of the PCS announced her members at the DWP were balloting in Surrey for strike action.

A Save Our Services street stall was arranged for 19th March at Staines High Street. And the meeting was told about a rally due to take place in Redhill, March 24th. This is being organised by Redhill Against Cuts, another group affiliated to Save Our Services in Surrey.

For a list of Save Our Services in Surrey events go to the events tab on the Guildford Against Fees and Cuts Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000336574245#!/pages/Guildford-Against-Fees-Cuts/167151436659040 
Or for a diary of activists’ events in Surrey and the surrounding counties, click the Events Calendar on the right hand column on this page.

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