We have been quiet for some time due to the pandemic and lockdowns - though we are all fighting our own battles, both personally and at work. Those of you currently active in your trade unions will know just how difficult this last year has been - and a decade of drastic government cuts to public services has not made life any easier.
We felt it was time that we got back together, see where we are at and what we can do (mainly online of course) to flag the issue of public sector cuts, the need for extra resources in health & social care, the drastic situation within our fire services etc.
We also have the County Council elections this year (if they go ahead) where we may be able to make some kind of impact regarding council funding, cuts and privatisation etc. as well as the ongoing current crisis in health and social care exacerbated by years of under-funding.
We have called an online meeting (via Zoom) to discuss all of this and see if we can come up with a few actions we can all take to continue the fight against the cuts. We have invited Surrey Fire Brigades Union (FBU) reps to give us an update on the situation in the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and we will also have Hugo Pierre from TUSC (The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) speaking on how they are proposing to take up the fight against cuts in local councils. Hugo is also a UNISON NEC rep but will be speaking in a personal capacity.
Save Our Services in Surrey
Fighting back against cuts in Surrey
Guest Speaker; Hugo Pierre (TUSC)
Invited speakers from Surrey Fire Brigades Union (FBU)
Monday 15th February at 7.30pm
The link to attend the meeting can be requested via our 'contact us' page
A month ago, no one could have guessed that we would be looking at a new pandemic which would close down whole countries and threaten millions of people's lives and livelihoods. But here we are.
Our government is intent on defending 'the economy' and their big business friends whilst workers on the front line are left to fend for themselves.
In the immediate term, SOSiS is accepting scientific advice and avoiding social contact in the medium term - so the planned meeting on 1st April is cancelled.
Public services will come under unprecedented strain in the next few weeks and many of you are proven fighters for communities and for those public services. We may be called upon to assist in emergency food, aid, caring responsibilities etc. and we hope we can be up to the task.
Our trade unions will be advising members working in those public services and who will be in the front line of dealing with the pandemic and its effects. Please get involved and make yourselves available - solidarity!
Well the election is over and we have a majority right wing Tory government. The need for our campaigns to defend public services, public sector workers and the most vulnerable in our society has never been greater.
The Fire Brigades Union are still fighting the cuts to Surrey's fire services, UNISON are fighting every day to protect jobs and services in local government, health and elsewhere.
The family of Zane Gbangbola are daily reminded of their little boy's untimely death in the floods of 2014, as rivers break their banks across Surrey (see below for the latest escalation of their campaign).
The next SOSiS meeting (see events page) is on 1st April in Woking. We have a guest speaker and everyone is welcome.
The fight to protect public services goes on...
Most of our campaigning activities are on hold during the election as many of our supporters are political activists and will be busy canvassing etc.
If you do nothing else though - please make sure you use your vote and vote against austerity and public sector cuts.
Check out our 'Charter' page for details of Surrey candidates who have formally adopted our charter in this election.
The next meeting of Save Our Services in Surrey will be on Thursday 21st November from 7pm till 9pm at the Maybury Centre in Woking:
The Maybury Centre
Board School Road
Tel: 01483 776877 Fax: 01483 776900
We will be discussing updates on the fire service cuts, the general election, the fight against NHS privatisation in 3 Surrey and Berkshire hospitals (https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2019/11/nhs-workers-strike-three-hospitals-privatisation-plans/), the CWU postal workers strike and more.
All welcome as always.
If you live or work around Epsom you may be interested in this NHS public meeting on 12th November https://koshh.org/events?event_id1=42.
This is an urgent call for support at the full council meeting next Tuesday. Lee Belsten from Surrey Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will be delivering a speech to the council and presenting our petition of over 13,000 signatures against fire service cuts (the first time this has happened in over ten years and the second largest petition ever received by SCC). The FBU have also declared a dispute with the council over these cuts and are threatening to ballot if the council do not step back.
If you are (or can be) available on Tuesday morning, the council meeting starts at 10am at County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston KT1 2DN. We want to pack the public gallery with supporters. If you can get there a bit earlier for a lobby outside, even better.
Please see attached the brief notes from our steering committee last night where we heard from a range of guest speakers and made a number of plans for the coming weeks.
Some key dates:
This Sunday 1pm at the Holiday Inn on Brighton Seafront - National Shop Stewards Network TUC Rally where our very own Guildford Climate Strikers will be speaking alongside trade union leaders such as Len McCluskey from Unite. All welcome.
20th September - Youth Strike for the Climate. A day of action across the world, supported in Surrey by UNISON and by Save Our Services in Surrey. UNISON are holding a rally in Guildford at lunchtime (press release attached).
24th September - lobby the County Council over cuts to fire services. 13,000 signatures on our petition which will be presented to Cabinet on that day. Please come along from 1pm till 2pm to show the strength of support. Cabinet starts at 2pm.
8th October - another potential lobby of the council over the fire service cuts - this time the full council meeting which starts at 10am. More details to follow.
I know it is holiday season but the cuts continue apace, there is a Brexit in the air and even a potential general election. Climate Change dominates the minds of our young people and it is community organisations like Save Our Services in Surrey, alongside the trade unions and the handful of progressive, socialist, politicians that can find a way forward and provide a much-needed lead.
There are a few dates for your diaries:
Tuesday 3rd September at 7pm at the Maybury Centre in Woking - SOSiS Steering Committee - as always, these are open, public meetings. We have a stacked agenda including representation from Climate Change Strike school students in Guildford and a major discussion on whether we can agree an anti-austerity, anti-cuts manifesto for Surrey - based on our Charter which can be found here: http://www.sosis.org.uk/our-charter.html. Plus an update on the fight to save our local fire services.
8th September at 1pm - National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) Rally and Lobby of the TUC in Holiday Inn, Brighton. More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/421637865360379/
Friday 20th September at 1pm outside Guildford Railway station - Support the Global Climate Strike - short rally/protest organised by Surrey County UNISON in solidarity with the striking school students. All welcome. Trade union banners in particular. Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/487675435379396/
Tuesday 24th September - around 1pm, details to be confirmed - lobby of Surrey County Council in Kingston & presentation of our (currently over 12,000 names) petition.
Please see below list of key dates for your diaries:
Next Thursday 18th July from 6pm outside Runnymede Borough Council in Addlestone - Save Our Fire Services. Runnymede Labour councillors will be moving a motion against local fire service cuts at the council meeting that evening (starts at 7.30pm) and would appreciate some support. If enough of us turn up from 6pm we can have a small protest outside with the SOSiS Stop Fire Cuts banner.
Tuesday 3rd September from 7pm - SOSiS (public) steering committee meeting at the Maybury Centre, Board School Road, Woking. We have invited all the recently elected Labour and Green councillors (other councillors welcome) to look at developing a joint anti-austerity programme in Surrey and we are also inviting the Guildford 'Strike 4 Climate' School Students to address us. Should be a lively meeting. All welcome. Updates will be posted on our website www.sosis.org.uk.
Friday 20th September all day - Global Earth Strike for Climate. This is something that has been called by Greta Thunberg and is an appeal for people across the world to make a stand on the same day against climate change. We have yet to see what that will mean in practice but trade unions are already looking at linking up with the school student movement and holding lunchtime rallies etc. Any concrete activities which people can join in with, will be posted on our website and our FB page. If you are in a union why not invite the students to your next meeting? They can be contacted via their FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/Strike4ClimateGuildford/ Let us know if you hear of something happening local to you.
Tuesday 24th September from 1pm - the SCC Cabinet will make their decision regarding the cuts to night time fire cover across Surrey. Our petition is now well over 12,000 and we want to push it to 20,000 by the time of the cabinet. The cabinet meeting is at 2pm (https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=120&MId=6329&Ver=4) but we want everyone to come along for an hour beforehand for a massive protest outside in support of our fire services. You can still sign the petition here. Please also share widely: https://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/Fire-Cuts/
Finally, please do not forget that we are still supporting the fight for truth and justice for Zane Gbangbola. The campaign for an independent panel inquiry now has over 80,000 signatures. We need to get it it 100,000 to demand a debate in parliament. You can sign it here if you haven't already. Please do so and share, share, share: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/call-for-a-public-debate-into-the-death-of-7-year-old-zane?bucket=+via+%4038_degrees
Secretary, Save Our Services in Surrey
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