This Saturday, 5 July, will see hundreds of trade union activists from across the UK meeting to discuss the way forward against the cuts and for an increase in pay for Britain's workers.
The star speaker will be a member of the Seattle $15NOW campaign which recently won a minimum wage in Seattle of $15 an hour and saw a Socialist, Kshama Sawant, elected to the city council.
Other speakers include: Ronnie Draper, BAFWU bakers' union General Secretary, Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary, Janice Godrich, PCS President and Peter Pinkney, RMT President.
The conference is from 11am till 5pm at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Nearest tube Holborn.
More about the conference here. All welcome:
The national UNISON ballot of all their members in local government who are on national terms and conditions has returned a vote in favour of national strike action (this does not include Surrey County UNISON as their staff are on local terms and conditions).
The teachers union (NUT), civil service (PCS), firefighters (FBU) and general unions Unite and GMB are also involved in national disputes over pay, pensions and cuts and will be joining the strike.
The 10 July has been named as a day of national strike action over all these issues. SOSIS are organising street campaigning in Staines on that day to support the action (Spelthorne Borough Council staff are on national terms and their UNISON members would be involved).
We are saying BRITAIN NEEDS A PAY RISE!
You can come and support the UNISON picket line in Spelthorne outside the Civic Offices in Knowle Green, Staines from 7.30am till about midday.
If you would like to be involved in helping with the street stall in Staines on 10 July anytime between 11am and 2pm please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. or just come along.
Please see the following article in this weeks Surrey Herald series regarding the decision this week by Spelthorne Council to sell land to Surrey County Council for the express reason of building a new fire station to replace our existing stations.
The fight is not over. We will keep campaigning until we either stop the proposals or demolition starts on our fire stations. We still need more people to sign the petition so please circulate widely: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/flooding-shows-that-fire-service-cuts-are-a-mistake
One of our supporters spotted a leaflet pinned to a tree in Laleham Park this week, put there, we have discovered, by the Laleham Residents Association.
Apparently, Spelthorne Council have a plan afoot to develop the park into 3 football pitches, one hard surfaced. The land floods! Apart from which it is a beautiful park, enjoyed by many for its peace and quiet. A Sports Academy is involved... get the picture? Anyway, if you have time, please go to:
http://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/lalehampark where you can read more about their proposal and have your say by clicking on the 'Feedback form' option on the right hand side of the screen (under the PDFs).
The consultation period ends this Sunday 29 June. Sorry, this is such short notice. We have only just found out about it.
Community Protest March
Sunday 29 June
Meet 1pm at the Boathouse, Chertsey
The parents of Zane Gbangboa, 7 years old, who died during the February flooding are disputing claims that land behind their home is not contaminated.
Zane died after floodwater filled the family home in Thameside, Chertsey.
Since his death, Zane’s parents, Kye Gbangbola and Nicole Lawler, who were also hospitalised at the time, have been campaigning to find the real cause of their son’s death.
The pair bought the house in 2004, when an environmental report showed no land contamination. However, subsequent reports for a neighbouring property in 2011, and for their own home, indicate contamination due to an old landfill site behind their home, now an infilled lake.
Surrey County Council has consistently denied any former landfill exists close to the family home.
Kye said: “We really want to push and find answers because it is wrong that these risks can occur. Ideally this is something we would like to be able to highlight nationally.”
Along with their neighbours and supporters They have set up a website Called ‘ Truth About Zane ’.
They have been left frustrated at the lack of answers from police and from the council and believe something is being hidden.
At a recent packed community meeting 800 local residents heard Zane's parents make a passionate plea for answers.
Zane's mum, Nicole said they have been left ‘broken’ by the death of their son. She also confirmed that at the time, they were all found to have hydrogen cyanide in their blood and that it had been discovered in the home – although a second coroners report states Carbon Monoxide poisoning as the cause of death, alledgedly from a generator hired by the family to pump floodwater from their home.
Save Our Services in Surrey supports the family's demand for a public enquiry.
UNISON are currently balloting all their members in local government who are on national terms and conditions (this does not include Surrey County UNISON as their staff are on local terms and conditions).
The teachers unions, civil service and firefighters are also involved in national disputes over pay, pensions and cuts.
The 10 July has been named as a potential joint day of national strike action over all these issues. If the strike goes ahead then SOSIS will be organising street campaigning in Staines on that day to support the action (Spelthorne Borough Council staff are on national terms and their UNISON members would be involved).
If you would like to be involved in helping with street stall in Staines on 10 July please email us on email@example.com.
Over 800 people attended the community meeting on Thursday evening (June 5) at Staines Leisure Centre. Spelthorne residents, many of whom had been victims of the flooding, were angry and frustrated as the panel of ‘experts’ continually avoided straight answers. Many of them walked out before the meeting concluded, with one resident from Staines saying: "I’m leaving angrier than when I arrived."
A panel of representatives from Spelthorne Borough Council, Surrey County Council, the Environment Agency (EA), Thames Water, Community Flood Forum and the emergency services were asked questions about their operations during the severe flooding earlier this year.
The audience appeared to grow angrier and more frustrated with the panel as the meeting went on.
Speaking almost two hours into the proceedings, Staines resident and Save Our Services in Surrey activist, Sian Manaz spoke on behalf of many: “I am really disappointed with the meeting this evening. A lot of people came here hoping we were going to get answers and actually after all that has been said by the people on the table we haven’t got any. I think a lot of the answers you have given us have actually been quite patronising to people who have been flooded and I do not think that is good enough. When are we going to get an apology?” She also pointed out the billions of pounds Thames Water make in profits and compared it to the funding gap being faced by the Environment Agency.
Sian was widely applauded by the audience and swiftly received an apology from Thames Water. Simon Earl, head of water production at the company, said: “I am obviously disappointed and nothing I can say up here can make up for the people who have seen flooding. Do you know what, of course I am sorry, of course I am.”
Kye Gbangbola, still in a wheelchair after being taken ill during the flooding in Chertsey, spoke at the meeting about the tragic death of his 7-year old son Zane (who died during the floods) and the lack of any answers from those in power locally. Mr Gbangbola said: “I would ask of the panel here, remember you are what you do, not what you say."
The meeting was chaired by Councillor Phillipa Broom, who said in closing: “I think the people’s voice was heard tonight and people are saying very, very strongly that we want action not words. I think the huge audience and the line of questioning showed the huge sense of feeling and concern that people have about the safety and about their homes.”
Save Our Services in Surrey campaigners collected over 400 signatures on our petition against cuts to the fire service in Spelthorne, bringing the total to well over 2,000 now. Our question was also asked in the meeting: “Why are Surrey County Council still planning on making cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service in Spelthorne?” Just the asking of the question drew one of the biggest cheers from the audience. The response, from Steve Owen-Hughes of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service was “nothing would have been done differently during the floods, these cuts will make no difference to our ability to respond in such situations."
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