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Press Release: Stroud Against the Cuts support lecturers on strike at Stroud College

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 13:55 administrator
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Press Release, Stroud Against the Cuts, 10/11/2015

Stroud Against the Cuts support lecturers on strike at Stroud College

Members of Stroud Against the Cuts visited the picket line at Stroud College today to show solidarity with members of the University and College Union (UCU) who are taking strike action over pay cuts and attacks on further education (FE). Lecturers have suffered a real terms pay cut of over 17% in recent years – with take home pay declining in value in each of the last six years. Trade unionists and their supporters say the strike is not just about pay – but about defending the quality of further education against cuts.

Robin Lewis, Chair of Stroud College UCU branch said: “We were asking the Association of Colleges for a £1 per hour rise which they’ve declined and actually the offer is a pay freeze. Clearly that’s quite derisory and caused a lot of anger within the sector, so we’ve come out on strike against that. In real terms our pay has dropped year on year – we get 1% sometimes, sometimes we get nothing and that’s been going on for at least four or five years now. Since 2008 we’ve had an 18-19% pay cut in real terms, so lecturers are starting to feel that enough is enough. It’s also in general about cuts in the FE sector. We have had some really drastic cuts and the whole sector is struggling now. Many of our class sizes have increased enormously – students are getting a much worse deal now from colleges because of that. Lecturers are more and more under pressure, the workload has increased dramatically – so the quality of provision is now starting to be affected by those cuts”

James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts said: “The government’s assault on public services includes a range of attacks on Further Education – and we must stand up to defend it. Stroud Against the Cuts supports Further Education workers and supports the strike. The cuts under the coalition have already caused redundancies – including here in Stroud. Class sizes are growing, courses are being cut and education is being undermined. Now the government is planning a further funding cut of 25% - potentially threatening nearly half of England’s sixth-form colleges and one in three further education colleges with closure.”

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The current cuts to adult education budgets are a devastating blow to colleges and will change the face of further education in many parts of the country. Funding for adult skills has already fallen 35% since 2009, and the latest reductions could be the final nail in the coffin for some courses.  Not everyone needs or wants to study an apprenticeship, but colleges are being forced to prioritise apprenticeships over other kinds of learning. This will shut the door on many learners who use adult education as a springboard for improving their skills. On top of the reduction in budgets, the focus on rationalisation and efficiency through area reviews can only lead to a narrower curriculum and risks leaving many students high and dry if their aspirations don't match local economic priorities. Colleges need stable investment to continue to help people of all backgrounds fulfil their potential'

Notes for editors:

For more information see the UCU’s page on the dispute and strike.

Stroud Against the Cuts produced a video from the picket, from which Robin Lewis’ quote is taken.

On government funding cuts and potential closures see the UCU press release or “Education budget cuts could see closure of four in ten sixth form and further-education colleges”.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 November 2015 13:59 )

SATC and Unite the Union Gloucester Area Health Sector Branch respond to CQC report on Gloucestershire Care Services

Sunday, 27 September 2015 21:23 administrator
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Press Release                            Stroud Against the Cuts                        27/09/2015

Response to CQC inspection of services defended from privatisation in 2011-12

Last week, a team of inspectors from the CQC issued a report detailing their inspection of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS), which runs seven community hospitals including Stroud Hospital, health clinics including Beeches Green, and community services for adults, children and young people (1).


In 2011-12, Stroud Against the Cuts led a successful campaign to keep the services now provided by GCS in the NHS (2).


A spokesperson from Stroud Against the Cuts said: “Behind the rhetoric of care closer to home the reality is that here and around the country our local hospitals and services are being run down. We know that health workers are trying their best - but to have safe services we need to stop the expensive bureaucracy of running the NHS as a beggar-my-neighbour competition between fragmented parts and private providers. (3)”


Unite the Union (4), Gloucester Area Health Sector Branch, representing over 500 health workers, issued the following response to the Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) Care Quality Commission (CQC) report:


"We are delighted that the staff of our community NHS trust have been given the recognition they deserve by the Care Quality Commission.  Our staff are caring and compassionate health providers.


We wish to extend this message from the report to GCS administrative staff and front-line reception staff, and to the porters, drivers and other, less conspicuous, workers.  Our staff, unselfishly, give much time of their own time to the role of enabling our more visible health professionals to carry out the job of keeping the county's population participating in society. 


We take on board what the CQC has said about areas which are struggling, but view this as part and parcel of an NHS set up to work within a competitive market.


The market diverts money meant for caring toward repeated tendering and bidding for services and on outsourcing services or entire trusts and hospitals. Health staff are increasingly spending time undertaking administrative duties that drive this wasteful marketised system. We are, however, grateful that GCS has been able to remain an NHS Trust, having watched as our out-sourced neighbours across the south-west struggle with privatisation, shrinking of services and reduction in staff terms and conditions.  And we are pleased to see the trust is putting in place improvement action plans and look forward to being a part of the process.”


Stroud Against the Cuts is encouraging people to join national protests at the Conservative Party Conference on October 4th - free transport is available via coach from Stroud, organised by Unison's Local Government branch in Gloucestershire - more details at:



Notes for editors:


1. The trust was rated "Good for caring but Requires Improvement for providing services that were safe, effective, responsive and well-led. Community inpatient services provided at the trust’s hospitals were found to be Outstanding for caring. Safety in the urgent care service was rated Inadequate." Read the full CQC report.


2. Stroud Against the Cuts and other anti-cuts groups in Gloucestershire campaigned against plans to hand services to a private company (a so-called 'social enterprise') or conduct a competitive tendering exercise over who would run the services. Across the South West, handovers of similar services to 'social enterprises' did take place. Peninsula Community Health (PCH) - one such body - recently announced it would not extend it's contract in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, blaming a "challenging financial climate".


3. A recent estimate by a group of Liberal Democrat MPs estimated the cost of the market system in the NHS at as much as £30billion a year. Dr Jacky Davis and other doctors and campaigners including the National Health Action Party have put it at £10billion a year. The Centre of Health & the Public Interest put it at a ‘conservative’ £4.5billion a year. Read Stroud Against the Cuts member Caroline Molloy's article "The billions of wasted NHS cash no-one wants to mention".


4. Contact details for Unite the Union in Gloucester


Stroud Against the Cuts on twitter

Stroud Against the Cuts on Facebook


Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 September 2015 21:39 )

Defending our living standards and public services from cuts and privatisation - Where Next?

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 18:25 administrator
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Stroud Against the Cuts Public Meeting, Thursday 2nd July

Stroud Old Town Hall, The Shambles, GL5 1AP

Poster for the event
Wages are low and getting lower, and the Conservative government is planning cuts to housing benefit, tax credits, disability benefits and pensions. The NHS is at breaking point, social care provision is being cut, schools are struggling. Public services are being chipped apart and more and more money is diverted from services and to private companies' profits.

Stroud Against the Cuts fought NHS privatisation locally and won in 2011/12 - join us for an informal discussion about what we face in the coming years and how we can support each other and fight back!


You can indicate you intend to come, and help our publicity, by joining the Facebook Event - or sharing information about the event on twitter.


The aim of the meeting is to hear from as many people as possible - gathering ideas and assessing what people would like to focus on.


For more information, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or text/call James Beecher on 07734 058789.


Travel to the Protests outside Conservative Party Conference in Manchester - October 4th 2015

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 19:29 administrator
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The Conservative Party hold their annual conference in Manchester from 3-7 October this year. The People's Assembly is organising a national protest outside the conference on Sunday 4th October, and a series of protests and events during the conference period.

Free transport is available via coach from Stroud and Gloucester - details below - thanks to a local Unison branch. Booking is essential - please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

link to facebook event for the Manchester protest

As the Conservative government cuts tax credits reducing the income of people already struggling with low pay, cuts what many sick and disabled people newly claiming Employment and Support Allowance receive to live on, attacks the rights of workers to organise collectively and take industrial action, continues to privatise the NHS, and presides over a housing crisis, the People's Assemly say: 

"We want to mobilise the biggest possible opposition on the streets, in our workplaces and communities which can force the Government out of office."


8.00 am - Depart Merrywalks Bus Station - Stroud

8.30 am - Depart Lister Bldg (by Bus Station) - Gloucester

11.45 am - Arrive Manchester Picadilly

12.00 pm - Rally & March begins

5.30 pm - Rally & March ends

6.00 pm - Depart Manchester Deansgate

9.15 pm - Arrive Lister Bldg (by Bus Station) - Gloucester

9.45 pm - Arrive Merrywalks Bus Station - Stroud


Coaches are provided by the Gloucestershire branch of the union Unison's Local Government section.
 "Yes to workers' rights - No to Austerity - 4th October, rally and march - Join us!" Unison image

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 September 2015 20:19 )

Reports from the End Austerity Now demonstration, 20th June 2015

Sunday, 21 June 2015 15:40 administrator
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On the 20th June, 2015, The People's Assembly Against Austerity organised a "End Austerity Now" demonstration in London. Stroud Against the Cuts, working with Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, the Stroud and Cheltenham branches of the Green Party, and local branches of unions Unite and Unison, arranged three coaches to travel from Stroud and Cheltenham, picking up almost 150 people from these towns as well as Gloucester and Cirencester.

Here are some photos and links to reports from the day:

Two photos of the Gloucestershire Group from before the march, in Princes St - round the corner from the Bank of England

People hold the Stroud Against Cuts Banner with slogan "Save Our Services" at the start of the demonstrationPeople hold a Stroud Valleys Against the Cuts banner with the slogans "Defend Workers Rights and Pay" and "Save Our Services"

Video clips and a picture from the march:


Crown holds placards including "People's March for NHS", "Cut War Not Welfare", large foam scissors with "No Cuts" written on them


Thousands of people listen to speeches in Parliament Square, with the Houses of Parliament in the background

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:06 )

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