On Friday 13 September, around 30 workers and community activists occupied Wallsend Memorial Hall in North Tyneside.
Workers who have not received wages since the beginning of September, occupied after managers from the centre’s funders, the Social Investment Business, announced plans to repossess the building. Since its creation in 1883 the centre remains legally entrusted to “the people of Wallsend”. Occupiers say they will remain there until their demands — that the centre stays open, in the hands of the people of Wallsend, and that owed wages are paid — are met. The hall is used for college courses, toddler groups, youth club, services for benefit claimants, migrants and martial arts classes.
The trustees called a public meeting last night (Tues 17 Sept) at late notice 100 people attended the meeting, the Trustees explained that they couldnt give information on financial information as they didnt have money for the accountant (?) Residents, workers and supporters gave them a hard time, and they was a lot grievances raised about why they had agreed to allow SIB to manage the building, and why this has led to more debt and a threat to the building and Peoples Centre.
The trustees have a meeting with Council and SIB on Thursday at 2pm to ask for SIB to pay the September wages (as reportedly promised to Trustees at the end of August), for the a commitment that the building will not be touched and will stay in the hands of the workers and the community, as to ask for financial support from the council to keep the staff employed and the centre going.
The meeting agreed to elect another 6 trustees (who are supportive of the occupation and workers) and these will now attend the meeting on Thursday.
Workers' Liberty supporters have put out a call for financial support for the workers, as well as supporters demand for pay, and keeping their jobs and the centre open. We will be organising a delegation of supporters to visit on Thursday to come with us contact: Ed 07740099479 or firstname.lastname@example.org