SCC have been running a public consultation regarding the potential closure of up to half of their existing Sure Start Childrens Centres. Save Our Services in Surrey opposes any austerity-driven cuts and we are supporting the Children's Centre users and staff in their campaign to keep them all open. As part of this campaign, some of the centres are delivering petitions and protesting outside County Hall in Kingston on Tuesday 22nd January at 2pm. If you can come along and support them that would be great. SOSiS will be there. Download and print the attached poster and stick it on your notice boards.
SOSiS Secretary, Paul Couchman and FBU Secretary Lee Belsten address marchers in Jubilee Square, Woking.
See the BBC Surrey live video link coverage of the demo on Facebook here:
Get Surrey's blog on the day - with photos and videos can be found here:
On the 5th Day of Christmas… the Tories gave to us… AUSTERITY!
Just one of the verses of the carol, 12 days of Christmas, sung by protestors to the shoppers of Woking during a massive protest last Saturday 15th December. Other verses included ‘Surrey Fire Service Cuts’, ‘Less Buses Running’, ‘Special Needs Neglected' and more.
Firefighters, Nurses, Social Workers and Carers, Teachers and Teaching Assistants, Librarians and Railway Workers all stood united as public sector workers to say a resounding NO to austerity and to demand a general election.
Labour Party, Socialist Party, Greens and independents joined the 300 strong protest march around Woking Town Centre to raise the profile of Save Our Services in Surrey (SOSIS) and the fight to defend public services. Even a small group of Lib Demo councillors attended.
Kye and Nicole, parents of little Zane Gbangbola who died in the floods of 2014 were also there supporting the protest with their ’Truth About Zane’ campaign and their banner which read ‘Zane Died - Authorities Lied’.
The only party not represented on the demonstration was the Conservative Party. Not surprising as they are widely seen as the architects of austerity and responsible for the slashing of vital public services.
Paul Couchman, Secretary of SOSIS, Surrey UNISON and local Socialist Party organiser, said:
‘Someone is going to die because of these cuts. 'Austerity Kills' is the title of this protest because cuts kill. Whether it is cuts in the fire service, police or ambulance services meaning slower response times to emergencies, or cuts in the number of mental health hospital beds, or cuts in social care for vulnerable elderly or disabled people. Political decisions have consequences and austerity is a political choice'.
‘This has been a magnificent show of strength and solidarity by the Surrey trade union and labour movement. People may think Surrey is just stockbrokers and rich bankers but there are hundreds of thousands of ordinary working class people who live and work in this county - many of whom work hard to provide our essential public services with less and less resources’.
‘The next steps for SOSIS will be to encourage people to participate in the council consultations over the cuts, making sure SCC know the strength of public feeling. We will then be ready to respond to any threatened cuts to libraries, children’s centres, special educational needs services (SEND), social care or any other cuts or closures. We will also be pulling together a people’s assembly against the cuts in the new year - involving all of the local trade unions, all the opposition parties and residents and community groups - to develop a people’s manifesto and budget for Surrey, based on what is needed, not what the government allows us to spend. We will then go into the next council elections demanding all candidates adopt this budget and make a stand against the cuts’.
Another Christmas Carol which was ringing in the air on Saturday was ‘Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way- What do we Want for Christmas? The Back of Teresa May!'
Please see attached the latest flyer for the demo (which includes the logo for the Truth About Zane (TAZ) who are supporting the event.
Also attached here is the initial press release, provisional route for the march and the notes from our last Steering Committee meeting on 26th November.
In these notes it gives the date of the next meeting but this has changed. The next meeting to plan our March and Rally on 15th December will be on MONDAY 26TH NOVEMBER - see events page.
This is Paul Couchman's letter of the week in the Surrey Advertiser a couple of weeks ago. The file is the notes from the highly successful meeting we held on 26th September with the FBU, RMT, UNISON, Labour, Socialists and the Greens. It was agreed to organise a major public event, led by the FBU, in Woking on Saturday 15th December - SAVE THE DATE.
A planning meeting has been organised for Thursday 8th November - see events page for details.
Chertsey, Painshill and Banstead fire stations closed on Saturday July ...
'Freedom of speech removed' as Surrey fire stations BANNED from ...
Surrey fire service 'on its knees' as figures show scale of station ...
These recent articles in the local press, along with the flurry of posts on social media, show the dire state of Surrey's fire and rescue service. This is from the mouths of the firefighters and their representatives. Surrey County Council are trying to gag our firefighters and stop them from telling us the truth.
SOSIS is proud to have been part of the fight to defend fire services in Surrey since our inception in 2009 - particularly our role in the campaign to defend fire services in Spelthorne and Staines Fire Station (see previous posts). We will be discussing the most recent developments and what can be done about them at our meeting on 26th September in Woking. Why not come along?
We have also been support the RMT (Railworkers union) in their battle to keep the Guard on South West Railways (SWR). We hope to have RMT and FBU Reps at the meeting on 26th to see if a joint campaign can be developed on the issue of public safety and austerity.
It has been a while since I last emailed. Everyoneone is incredibly busy and the cuts continue. I just wanted to ensure people that we are still here and that we intend to hold an annual general meeting soon (probably in April) to elect our officers etc. for 2018-19.
In the meantime, there are a few things coming up:
This Saturday (tomorrow) We have a stall arranged at the 'Jazz for Labour' event with Courtney Pine (and guest speaker John McDonnell MP) in the Leatherhead Theatre. I believe there are still tickets available if you want to come along https://www.theleatherheadtheatre.com/jazzforlabour.
LOCAL PAY RALLY 7 APRIL
Surrey County UNISON, with the support of the regional UNISON office, have organised a rally against austerity and for a fair pay rise for all. This event will be on 7th April at 2pm in the Runnymede constituency of Philip Hammond MP – the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. Runnymede is also where the Magna Carta was signed which protects the right of people to free speech and to protest (amongst other things). They have set up a Facebook event which will be regularly updated here:https://www.facebook.com/events/813239645526585/. Please think about coming along and bringing your colleagues, friends and family. Bring banners!
A letter for trade union branches and an initial flyer for the event is attached (which also advertises the TUC march and rally on 12th May on the back).
WE ARE THE LIONS MR MANAGER – showing at the Electric Theatre, Guildford on 25th March
This is an exciting new play from the Townsend Theatre company, which is about Jayabe Desai’s inspirational fight for freedom, equality & human dignity as part of the famous Grunwick Strike 1976-78. Paul Couchman, SOSiS Secretary, will be speaking at the after-show talk. You can book tickets here:https://electric.theatre/shows/wearethelions/
NHS 70th BIRTHDAY EVENTS
The NHS will be 70 in July this year. We should think about organising an event/events to celebrate and to continue to fight against privatisation and for an NHS publicly-owned, publicly-managed and free to all. There is a major London demo planned on 30th June by Health Campaigns Together and the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity.
This is where we will try to publish anti-cuts news we receive