Solidarity 192, 9 February 2011

Bankers loot, Cameron cuts

Scarcely two years after they were rescued from going bust by £1100 billion (yes, £1100 billion — £18,000 for each child, woman and man in the UK) of cash, loans, and credit guarantees from the taxpayer, the bankers are blithely coining it again.

Meanwhile the Cameron government is making public service workers and the worse-off pay the price of the bailout and of the bankers’ crisis through crushing cuts.

Labour should commit itself to seizing the whole of the bankers’ wealth for public purposes so that investment can be democratically controlled for social ends rather than geared to the enrichment of a minority of profiteers.

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Reinstate Sue Caldwell!

Sue Caldwell, head of maths at Friern Barnet secondary school, has been suspended while she is investigated for allegedly having encouraged pupils to leave school on 24 November to join protests against education cuts. Sue denies the charges.

Sue seems to be the only teacher to have been disciplined in this way for the protests, fuelling suspicions that this is a political victimisation. Sue helped to set up Barnet Anti Academies Alliance to respond to the council’s drive to push all the borough’s schools to become academies.

Sue Caldwell, head of maths at Friern Barnet secondary school, has been suspended for allegedly encouraging pupils to leave school on 24 November to join protests against education cuts.

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Peter Hartshorn reinstated: is the tide turning?

Peter Hartshorn, victimised RMT Industrial Rep from the Green Park group on London Underground, has been reinstated on appeal with his dismissal suspended for 52 weeks.

Peter was dismissed after he was accused of swearing at a manager, despite witnesses stating otherwise. Peter’s sacking was part of a spate of victimisations which also saw drivers’ reps Arwyn Thomas and Eamonn Lynch lose their jobs.

Peter Hartshorn, victimised RMT Industrial Rep from the Green Park group on London Underground, has been reinstated on appeal with his dismissal suspended for 52 weeks.

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Fees of £9k? Nein, danke!

From September 2012, universities in England will be allowed to start charging higher fees to undergraduates. The upper limit on university fees will be raised from £3,290 to £9,000.

In an attempt to sweeten the pill of the fees increase, the government had said that the top rate of £9,000 fees would only be charged “in exceptional circumstances”. However, the BBC reports that education experts, NUS President Aaron Porter, and Cambridge University management all expect most universities to charge the full amount.

From September 2012, universities in England will be allowed to start charging higher fees to undergraduates. The upper limit will be raised from £3,290 to £9,000.

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Save Norfolk's Unthank Centre

Norwich AWL comrades joined the weekly Norfolk Coalition Against the Cuts city centre stall on Saturday 4 February bringing with them representatives from the Save The Unthank Centre campaign.

The campaign has attracted nearly 1,000 signatures on its online petition. Norfolk County Council aims to close the unique family centre as part of their massive cuts to public services.

A campaign to save a family centre in Norfolk has attracted nearly a thousand signatures on an online petition.

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Action in Lambeth

Around 300 people took part in direct action against Lambeth Council organised by the Save Our Services campaign on 7 February.

The actions included an intervention at a council meeting and blocking a major traffic interchange, and mobilised workers and community activists from across the borough.

Only one Labour councillor, Kingsley Abrams, spoke out against the cuts, prompting council leader Steve Reed to call him a “disgrace”. When Reed’s comments drew an outcry from the public gallery, the police were called, but were forced to beat a hasty retreat.

Around 300 people took part in direct action against Lambeth Council organised by the Save Our Services campaign on 7 February.

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University of Glasgow students occupy

On Tuesday 1 February, students at the University of Glasgow went into occupation in order to save the Hetherington Research Club and prevent the university management from converting it into office space.

The club, which was closed in February last year, catered for mature students, post-graduates, international students and staff members, providing them with a valuable social space in which to exchange ideas and engage in group study.

Students at the University of Glasgow have occupied to save the Hetherington Research Club, a social space for post-graduates, international students and staff which first opened in 1954 and was the only establishment of its kind in Scotland.

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Southwark speech therapists strike against job cuts

On Thursday 3 February Southwark speech therapists struck in protest at cuts to jobs and services that are being proposed.

The therapists provide critical support to children and their families who have language and communication difficulties.

Under the proposed cuts 11 out of 35 staff will lose their jobs in March. This will almost certainly be followed by more job loses when the Primary Care Trust which employs the therapists is abolished.

Southwark speech therapists have struck in protest at plans to cut jobs and services.

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British Airways workers await strike dates

An announcement on strike dates will have to be made by mid-February. New Fleet [Walsh's new scheme for restructuring terms and conditions] has started, although it numbers only in the hundreds of crew at the moment.

Their rosters are appalling and probably unsustainable for any length of time, as they do not give the crew sufficient rest between long and short haul flights. Their take home pay (for the Juniors) is around £800 per month; this is not a realistic salary for someone working at Heathrow, where renting a room is around £550 per month.

An announcement on strike dates at British Airways will be made by mid-February.

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