Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
SATC has an organising meeting this Thursday 3rd July at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud. We will be discussing how we organise and plans for the year ahead after a pause in activities. Contact us for more information via:
Attached is the latest summary of new stories related to the NHS from Keep Our NHS Public.
On July 10th, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will take strike action co-ordinated by the GMB, NUT, UNISON and (announced today) PCS unions against real terms pay cuts.
This Friday, July 4th, Disabled People Against Cuts are organising a "Independent Living Tea Party" outside the DWP offices in London.
This follows an attempted occupation of land outside Westminster Abbey by the group last week, see a Guardian report here and videos and more here (scroll down for the videos)
Read previous updates by clicking read more below:
Dear supporters of Stroud Against the Cuts,
Our first meeting of 2014 will be on Wednesday 29th January at the Exchange, Brick from 7pm. We start with 15 minutes of informal chat, begin the formal meeting at 7.15pm and end at 9pm. We welcome all opposed to cuts and privatisation, and with the current onslaught need as many of you as possible to get involved.
Below are some events and links you may be interested in:
1. Thanks to those of you who were able to make it to protest against Michael Gove's visit to Marling School - around 200 protested and students managed to chant "Gove Out!" within earshot of the Education secretary. Read a report by Chris Moore here http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/educationcuts/37-education/165-gove-10-01-14-cm.html (which includes a link to a previous quick report with links to coverage in the local press, photos and video).
You may be interested in a "Campaign for Education" meeting organised by the Anti-Academies Alliance next Saturday 25th January in London: http://antiacademies.org.uk/2014/01/campaigning-for-education-academies-free-schools-and-privatisation-goves-reforms-in-trouble/
2. "UCU has announced plans for a series of two-hour strikes aimed at disrupting teaching at UK universities as part of a row over pay. The union says universities across the UK will face the largest ongoing disruption of teaching ever undertaken if the increasingly fractious dispute over staff pay is not resolved in the next week. Tens of thousands of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals will be at risk of cancellation as UCU members walk out for two hours over a series of days. The first three two-hour stoppages will take place at these times:
- Thursday 23 January 11am-1pm
- Tuesday 28 January 2pm-4pm
- Monday 10 February 9am-11am" For more information see: http://www.ucu.org.uk/6875. Stroud College had UCU picket lines for their last strike action and most likely will again, so please consider popping by to show support.
3. "Gloucestershire County Council tops a list of south west authorities hit hardest by Government cuts. The figures drawn up by union Unison show Gloucestershire County Council has lost out by £150milion since the Coalition Government came to power in 2010." Read more: http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Gloucestershire-councils-hit-hard-funding-cuts/story-20423297-detail/story.html#ixzz2qr2dxeOg
4. National welfare action info and skill sharing gathering on 15th February, London. Check it out here: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3267 and join our facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/events/234715283375679/
5. Three relevant theatrical events we've been made aware of:
i) Thursday February 13th. Excerpt of "Nothing Changes" - "2014 sees the anniversary of the great socialist novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company are using the classic work as both the inspiration and the plot for a new piece of theatre exploring “austerity Britain”. As part of a new scratch theatre initiative at the Guildhall, Gloucester we will be presenting an extract from the work (details)".
ii) "How to Occupy an Oil Rig" At the Subscription Rooms Thursday 27th February http://www.danielbye.co.uk/how-to-occupy-an-oil-rig.html "There are all sorts of lessons to be learned in life. How to blend in on a march. How to crash a boardroom meeting. How to avoid becoming romantically attached to an undercover police officer. That sort of thing. In this playful and provocative show about protest, how-to demonstration and storytelling show you how to do all of this and more. Funny, surprising, and not a little sad, How To Occupy An Oil Rig is for everyone who ever wanted to change anything. And that's everyone. You get to play with plasticine, too."
iii) "We Will Be Free" is an exciting piece of political theatre coming to Stroud! This play tells the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, charting an important event in the emergence of trade Unionism and Chartism, and has played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to enthusiastic acclaim. It is a story with much relevance to our times and will appeal to anyone interested in workers rights, the history of trade unions or good theatre! Featuring music arranged by the legendary John Kirkpatrick, and with a small but stellar cast, this is a night not to be missed. The performance in Stroud will also include a short slot by local choir Songs of Change, and a post show Q and A session with the actors. The date of the performance is 7th March, at Lansdown Hall and Gallery (formerly the Space). Doors open 7:00pm. Tickets are available from the Tourist Information at the Subscription Rooms, and are priced at £12 standard, £10 OAP, £5 concessions (unemployed/full time student/under 21).
I hope this information is useful and we may see you at the next organising event, James Beecher for SATC
Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
Firefighters have been in dispute with the government over pensions and other issues for some time. They have been taking strike action as part of their campaign and will do so again:
7pm and midnight tomorrow (Christmas Eve, 24/12/2013)
6.30pm on Tuesday, December 31 and 12.30am on Wednesday, January 1 .
6.30am and 8.30am on Friday, January 3.
If you are able, please stop by (or honk as you pass) picket lines to show your support. The nearest fire station is between the Cainscross and Paganhill roundabout, and has had picket lines for previous strikes - which we've visited on several occasions.
We have leaflets we could hand out from 10.30am on Saturday 28th December in Stroud High St, if people would like to help? Get in touch if so - 07583 497887.
FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack, said: “Firefighters provide a first-class standard of service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and these strikes will remind government just how reliant they are on our members’ professionalism, commitment and flexibility.
“However, there should be no need for industrial action, and it’s absurd that firefighters’ concerns over pensions have not been addressed already.
“The government must stop claiming they are negotiating when they have refused to talk for two months and insist on forcing through proposals that are unaffordable, unworkable and unfair.
“By simply conceding common sense and allowing firefighters a fair deal, the government could end this industrial action today.”
As well as the above link to the article on the Stroud Against the Cuts website about previous strike action by firefighters, you can find more information on the Fire Brigades Union website. A short video interview with Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU is here:
Share the image above, used as an advert in newspapers today, on twitter here:
All the best to our supporters over the festive season, wishing you a Happy New Year,
Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
In this update:
1. Update on Bedroom tax campaign - no evictions motion at Stroud District Council defeated
2. Boycott Workfare Week of Action against workfare (working for no wages on threat of losing unemployment benefits) and sanctions (cutting off unemployment of disability benefits completely)
3. Petition seeking impact assessment on welfare reforms hits 100,000 signature milestone
4. Neil Carmichael speaks on the Lobbying Bill, Thurs 12th Dec, 7.15pm – 9.45pm, The Old Town Hall GL5 1AP; Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill threatens right to protest
5. Next meeting - Wednesday December 18th, The Exchange, 7-8pm followed by social.
6. And finally... We're (not) all in together part 459...
1. Bedroom tax
1200 people signed a petition organised by Stroud Against the Cuts and Unite Community calling on Stroud District Council to state a clear policy that no-one would be evicted due to arrears resulting from cuts to their housing benefit (the bedroom tax), and to write-off arrears accrued by people affected by the bedroom tax. Around 20 supporters of Stroud Against the Cuts attended a lobby before the full Council meeting on Thursday 28th November. One supporter asked follow up questions at the meeting, one of our volunteer co-ordinators Chris Moore gave a 5 minute speech, and councillors from the local Green Party then proposed a motion. Labour councillors opposed this motion, and dismissed the arguments of Stroud Against the Cuts and others, and it was defeated.
You can watch a video of the council meeting by clicking here. The questions from a supporter of SATC are asked at 23:04, Chris Moore speaks at 33:45, and Molly Scott Cato introduces the Green Party's motion at 38:43. We shall be issuing a press release as a response ASAP - check our website or twitter account.
2.Boycott Workfare weekend of action and gathering of welfare action groups
From Boycott Workfare: "This week Boycott Workfare are taking action against workfare and sanctions. Here is a list of actions happening across the UK and check our blog for our daily online actions. We will be starting the week with a noise demo at the workfare industry's main conference at the University of London to not let them 'network' in peace.
We are also organising a gathering of welfare action groups for the 15th Feb 2014 (more info here). This will give a chance for people involved in local welfare action and support groups (or wanting to set them up) to come together and share what they are doing locally as well as skill up to help us fight the welfare cuts together. If you have a suggestion for a specific workshop you would like to happen, or you would like to run a workshop, then let us know on
. Boycott Workfare will also have a travel fund to help get to the gathering so get in touch.
Please help spread both the week of action and the gathering and get involved!"
Around 1 million people will have been made to work for no wages on pain of losing their unemployment benefits recently. The government has a number of programs of this nature, which are referred to collectively as workfare. The government claims such programs are about useful experience or inculcating work ethic, but really they are about providing cheap labour for corporations and putting downward pressure on wages (and fudging the employment statistics: those on workfare placements do not count as unemployed) - and are not helping to get people paid work. Instead, workfare is replacing paid employment. For more information click here.
Another issue for the large numbers of people unemployed at present is sanctions - a refusal by Jobcentre to continue benefits. Sanctions are often applied for ridiculous reasons (we have heard similar stories to those collected by Birmingham Against the Cuts).
Corporate Watch Research found that 508,000 sanctions were handed out to Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in 2011, compared to 139,000 in 2009 (ie, more than tripled). Because there was little change in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit during this period, it is clear that a much higher proportion of people have had their benefits cut - often for 3 to 6 months. Sanctions mean you can no longer claim benefits. We are hearing from Citizens Advice Bureau, the Stroud & District Foodbank and Marah that many of the people seeking help from these organisations do so following being sanctioned.
3. A government e-petition calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare changes has hit 100,000 signatures
This triggers consideration for a debate in parliament. More signatures will still mean more pressure. Read the text of the petition below and sign here (the deadline is the 12/12/2013)
"A Cumulative Impact Assessment of all cuts and changes affecting sick & disabled people, their families and carers, and a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act. An immediate end to the Work Capability Assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association. Consultation between the Depts of Health & Education to improve support into work for sick & disabled people, and an end to forced work under threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits. An Independent, Committee-Based Inquiry into Welfare Reform, covering but not limited to: (1) Care home admission rises, daycare centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, universal mental health treatments, Remploy closures; (2) DWP media links, the ATOS contract, IT implementation of Universal Credit; (3) Human rights abuses against disabled people, excess claimant deaths & the disregard of medical evidence in decision making by ATOS, DWP & the Tribunal Service."
Read more about the campaign against the War on Welfare by clicking here.
Stroud Against the Cuts is campaigning on disability issues. Please get in touch if you would like to help.
4. Neil Carmichael will speak on the Lobbying Bill, Thurs 12th Dec, 7.15pm – 9.45pm, The Old Town Hall GL5 1AP. For more information click here.
You may be interested in another piece of legislation attacking our democratic rights. From the Guardian newspaper: "Councils could be handed power to ban peaceful protests under new bill. Campaign groups have warned that peaceful protests could be made illegal on the grounds that they may annoy nearby residents.The powers could come as part of the Government's Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing bill currently going through parliament... The convener of the civil-liberties group the Manifesto club, Josie Appleton, said: "This bill has shockingly open-ended powers within it that could allow councils to ban everything from protests, to outdoor public meetings, to children's skateboarding. The list is endless."
5. Next SATC meeting
SATC is organised through regular meetings open to all those opposed to cuts and privatisation. Our next regular organisational meeting will be on Wednesday December 18th, at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud. It will be a shorter meeting that usual, just 7-8pm, and will be followed by social at a nearby pub. We will send more details nearer the time. It would be great if many of you could make it.
6. And finally...
"George Osborne has blown a cool £10.2million revamping his Whitehall HQ" (Daily Mirror article). But we're all in this together, right?
Thanks for reading,
Dear Supporters of Stroud Against the Cuts,
Please find below information on the following:
1. Bedroom Tax Protest Lobby, November 28th, 6pm, Ebley Mill, Cainscross.
2. Reports on our recent activities: support for District Nurses, 'Bonfire of Austerity' protests, ATOS assessments network, Hospital Closure Clause, Cheltenham A&E
3. Upcoming strike action in Higher Education and fire services
4. Meeting with Neil Carmichael MP on the ‘gagging bill’, December 12th 2013, Old Town Hall, Stroud.
- Bedroom Tax Protest Lobby, November 28th, 6pm, Ebley Mill
Please join us and Unite Community next Thursday November 28th for a protest lobby of Stroud District Council regarding the bedroom tax: we are calling for a no-evictions policy and for arrears to be written off among other demands. A petition of 1,200 names was handed in to the council recently. After the lobby, we will be allowed to make a short statement in the Council chamber, and the public can stay for questions. Each person can ask three question, and get supplementary follow up questions to answers. The public gallery at the council fits 40, and it would be great if we could fill it. Steve Hunter will be leafleting in the High Street to publicise the protest this Saturday 23rd – contact him on 07799 812633. If you want to ask a question about Stroud District Council’s policy on the bedroom tax: “Notice of questions must be given by no later than 12 noon, 2 clear working days before the day of the meeting. Such notice must be in writing or by electronic mail to the Chief Executive, Democratic Services, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, Glos. GL5 4UB (e-mail,
). Each question must be supported by the name and address of the questioner and must identify the relevant Committee to whom it is to be put. Democratic Services staff will provide assistance in identifying the relevant committee if required”
2. Reports on our recent activities
We demonstrated our support for local District Nurses outside the board meeting of Gloucestershire Care Services, the NHS body responsible for community health services locally, on November 12th . A consultation of District Nurses finished on November 15th, and we continue to discuss with District Nurses how we can support them in resisting changes to their working conditions that threaten patient care. We have learned that a further consultation regarding changes to the working conditions of further nursing staff has now begun and urge any healthworkers affected to get in touch with us and their union reps. Contact SATC via
or James Beecher on 07583 497887.
Our protest outside Neil Carmichael’s office and at Stroud Jobcentre as part of the People’s Assembly ‘bonfire of Austerity’ day of action was covered in the Stroud News and Journal and Citizen. We were joined at our protest by homelessness charity Emmaus, who are displaying some poster materials in their window on London Road in Stroud.
Helen Prynne is planning a meeting to form a network of people that could accompany people to ATOS/DWP ‘fit-to-work’ assessments on Monday 25 November. Please contact her if you are interested in helping: 07731 768077.
The Stroud News and Journal this week also contains letters from SATC members Christine Stockwell (on the Bedroom Tax) and Hannah Basson (on the NHS). It is hard for us to find the time to write press releases and letters every week so please help us out by follow up the story with letters of your own to the papers.
We are also encouraging people to write letters to their MPs regarding the ‘Hospital Closure Clause’, see this article and sample letter by Stroud Against the Cuts member Caroline Molloy and Lewisham Hospital campaigner Dr Marie Louise Irving. Please forward this information on to your contacts elsewhere in the country: Conservative or Lib Dem MPs are especially needed to sign.
For updates on the downgrade of Cheltenham A&E (which include a recent small u-turn by health bosses), see: http://reachnow.org.uk .
3. Upcoming strike action in Higher Education and fire services
Stroud Against the Cuts has been supporting workers taking Strike Action recently, visiting pickets by firefighters and University staff locally. Both disputes continue, please see the links for more information.
The next Higher Education strike will be on December 3rd. See information from the University and College Union. “Union members are angry at a 1% pay offer, which has seen their pay fall in real-terms by 13%. The squeeze on staff pay comes at a time when pay and benefits for university leaders increased, on average, by more than £5,000 in 2011-12, with the average pay and pensions package for vice-chancellors hitting almost £250,000. UCU head of higher education, Michael MacNeil, said: 'Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay and have made it clear that enough is enough. We remain committed to trying to resolve this dispute and the employers now have until 3 December to sit down and positively engage with the unions. If they don't, then our members and those from our sister unions will be out on strike again, as well as continuing to work to contract.'” You may also be interested in this article on the privatisation of HE in the London Review of Books.
4. Meeting with Neil Carmichael MP on the ‘gagging bill’, December 12th 2013.
“Do you want your voice heard on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning
and Trade Union Administration Bill?
[The Sheila McKechnie Foundation] and a number of other organisations [including 38degrees] have been working together as the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill moves through Parliament. There are a series of public meetings happening across the country to discuss this Bill, including one in Stroud on Thursday 12th December. Neil Carmichael MP has already confirmed that he is attending. If you’re concerned about this Bill, then you can help make this a successful public debate.
Here are the details:
Where: The Old Town Hall, The Shambles, High Street, Stroud, Glos., GL5 1AP
When: Thursday 12th December
What time: 7.15pm – 9.45pm
The Bill has been paused in the House of Lords so now is the time to have your voice heard. Everyone is welcome to attend so please pass on this email and even if you don’t want to ask a question, it will be an opportunity to hear what Neil Carmichael MP, the speakers and the rest of your community have to say.”
1. 1. Our next meeting: Monday 28th October, 7pm, The Exchange
2. 2. Upcoming Strikes – Higher education and postal services
3. 3. Our next protest: Tuesday 5th November, 5pm, Neil Carmichael’s office, Nailsworth
4. 4. Bedroom Tax update
5. 5. NHS update
6. 6. Myth Busters
7. 7. And finally…
1. Reminder that the next organisation meeting of Stroud Against the Cuts is on MONDAY 28th October. As usual at 7pm for 7.15 prompt start, formal meeting till 9pm, sometimes followed by more informal discussion. The formal part of the meeting is held at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud. All opposed to cuts and privatisation are welcome. Call 07583 497887 for more details/directions.
2. First UK-wide joint strike between higher education unions has been set for 31 October. UCU (representing lecturers and other academic staff), UNISON and Unite (representing administrative staff, cleaners and others) trade unions announced that their members working in higher education will walk out on Thursday 31 October in an increasingly bitter row over pay. Staff have been offered a pay rise of just 1% this year, which means they have suffered a pay cut of 13% in real terms since October 2008. See information from the UCU and/or follow the hashtag #fairpayinHE on Twitter for updates (you do not need to have a twitter account to do this). Here are videos by students (at the University of the Arts in London) calling for support for these strikes by students, and from Reel News talking to staff about the reasons for the strike:
Postal workers in Royal Mail voted by 4 to 1 (78%) in favour of strike action in a move to protect their jobs, terms and conditions and secure a pay rise. This is taking place against the backdrop of the campaign to Save Our Royal Mail from privatisation. See information from the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Stroud against the cuts supports these strikes, as we supported the recent teachers’ strike.
3. On Tuesday 5th November at 5pm (till 6.30pm) we will hold a protest outside Neil Carmichael MP’s office in Nailsworth, headlined something along the lines of “Bring the cuts to Carmichael”. The protest will form part of the nationwide ‘Bonfire of Austerity’ called by Peoples Assembly. We are finalising plans for this event at our meeting on Monday 28th – please email us with ideas if you are unable to attend the meeting.
Back in January 2011, Neil Carmichael said "There are still some cuts but they are not as savage as they first appear”. He recently claimed that “Spending on [the] NHS has increased by over £12billion since 2010. Stroud has already benefited from this investment”. We are sure many of you have your own stories about services that have been cut or damaged by cuts, changes to social security payments, wage freezes and the struggles of making ends meet generally, as well as views on the privatisation of our NHS, Royal Mail and other services, and the lack of serious action to address tax havens and banks. So start making placards and banners, perhaps even a guy, to bring to our “Bring the cuts to Carmichael” protest. We’re hoping to screen films about the cuts and will have seasonal sparklers! A further email from SATC will explain more about our plans, to see a list of what is happening across the country see the People's Assembly website.
3. Bedroom Tax update: We believe enough signatures have been collected on our bedroom tax petition to trigger a debate in Stroud District Council on November 28th. We are still seeking further signatures (see attached form, please email us if you are able to collect signatures/have completed sheets). We will be encouraging our supporters to attend the Stroud District Council meeting on this date – please put it in your diaries, further details to follow.
Meanwhile, rent arrears are growing. A survey of 50 housing associations found half tenants affected were in arrears in first three months – details here. At the same time, new evidence shows the Bedroom Tax is not saving money as claimed. A DWP model predicted savings of £480m in 2013/14, but research indicates real savings will be up to 39% less. And it is putting ‘substantial’ further costs on local authorities and housing associations. See the research paper here.
Further research is being conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur on housing, who called on the UK to suspend or abolish the Bedroom Tax earlier this year. Ms Rolnik is asking for further evidence for her enquiry into all UK housing policy. Submissions should be sent before December 2013 for inclusion in her final report. This can include case studies, which can be anonymous. Contact details: UN web site to collect evidence: righttohousing.org Ms Rolnik and her assistant, Juana Sotomayor:
More bedroom tax legal judgements have been coming in: Surinder Lall won a bedroom tax appeal against Westminster council, as he stores vital equipment in his ‘spare’ room, and in the first tribunal rulings on bedroom tax appeals, four out of five appeals brought with the assistance of Fife Law Centre have been upheld.
(unrelated to the bedroom tax, a Judicial Review has ruled that the test used to decide whether people are fit for work actively discriminates against the mentally ill)
In a ComRes poll 11-12 September: Six out of ten people (59%) say the Bedroom Tax should be scrapped (up from 51% in April). That includes four out of five (79%) of Labour voters, and 65% of Lib Dem and 34% of Conservative voters.
A 4-page ‘How to Beat the Bedroom Tax’ guide is available - email orders to
(10p a copy; 100= £10 plus postage; or less/free for bigger orders – cheques to Defend Council Housing PO Box 33519 London E2 9WW)
4. Two very important articles have been published on the ‘OurNHS’ website edited by SATC member Caroline Molloy. “Get your Clause off our hospitals” discusses “An Amendment hastily tagged onto the Care Bill, Amendment 168A (to be inserted after Clause 109) [which] gives the power to any hospital administrator appointed in England to dismantle whichever hospital services they may take a fancy to, as long as they neighbour a hospital which is deemed to be failing.”
“How to abolish a free health service, step one”, looks at how plans to charge immigrants for NHS services will cost more money than they save, and make it easier to bring in charges for others.
We have also been made aware of the following event: Medicine Unboxed “Two days of ideas, explorations and debates about medicine, the arts and philosophy and imagination.”
“This year we explore 'VOICE" - the patients’, the sung, the hallucinated, the human, that of science and philosophy, the NHS, the sick, society’s, the troubled, the poetic and how these converge to medicine’s sound. Come along, listen, be heard, join our debate and be inspired”
Don’t forget that the campaign to restore a fully-functioning 24/7 A&E service at Cheltenham Hospital (and hence to have more than one such service in the whole of Gloucestershire), supported by Stroud Against the Cuts and other local groups, has a website here: www.reachnow.org.uk.
5. Some SATC members in the past have requested ‘myth-busters’ to circulate. Here are two that have been recommended by an SATC member:
Jacky Davis' NHS myth buster
Isabelle Koksal’s Immigration myth buster
6. And finally… comedians Mark Thomas and Dr Phil Hammond are appearing nearby, in case anyone is interested,
For Stroud Against the Cuts.
Dear supporters of Stroud Against the Cuts,
In this email:
1. Appeal to District Nurses re: attacks on working conditions - get in touch!
2. Details on the strikes by National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT later this week
3. November 5th Day of Action co-ordinated by People's Assembly
4. Next SATC organising meeting on Monday 28th October, The Exchange
5. “Communicating and Campaigning Online” workshop 30th October, 7-9pm, £5
6. And finally...
1. We understand huge changes are in place to alter the work conditions of District Nurses locally, in ways which make their jobs much more difficult and are bound to have an impact on patient care. We have been told that meetings of staff have taken place around the county and, although nurses have been vocal in their criticism, management are saying nurses are happy with the changes. If you are a District Nurse, or know someone who is, please let us know so we can publicise grievances - anonymously - on your behalf, on our website and in the press. Email:
(put "DN" in the subject), or phone 07583 497887. We are very aware of the need for confidentiality and will be extremely careful with your contact details.
2. On Thursday 17th October teachers will strike in our local area (the South West, and in the North East, Cumbria, London, and the South East).
SATC members will be leafletting schools (parents and children) at gates and entrance and home-times from this afternoon until the strike, when we will join pickets. If you can help by joining us or leafletting parents/children at your local school, please get in touch with James:
/ 07583 497887. Here are copies of the leaflets we will be using: "Why Teachers are Taking Action" (pdf) "It's Time to Stand Up for Education" (pdf)
NASUWT have produced two short videos which are worth watching, explaining "Why Teachers are taking action" and "Why I am taking strike action"
The NUT and NASUWT unions have both provided explanations on their websites. Here are two brief quotes in case you do not have time to visit the websites: "We have repeatedly requested that the Government enters into urgent discussions about the concerns of the teaching profession. We have made it very clear that we want to talk and we are willing to do so at any time but the Government has not made any attempt to enter into constructive negotiations with us. We will continue to seek constructive negotiations but because of the Government’s refusal to enter into talks we have no choice but to ask you to back your unions by supporting further joint action - initially by taking part in a rolling programme of selective strike action and then by taking national strike action if the Government persists in ignoring us" (NUT) "Teachers’ pay and conditions are part of the entitlement of children and young people to be taught by those who are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals and who have working conditions which help them to raise standards" (NASUWT)
Here is a video from a march in Birmingham earlier in the month when teachers struck in other parts of the country:
3. On November 5th The Peoples’ Assembly is calling for a day of protest (a 'Bonfire of Austerity') in every town and city in the country.
"The actions will be many and various, ranging from occupations of public space to occupations of banks, from online petitioning to blocking roads, from leafleting with the rail unions against the privatized rail companies to student occupations."
We have agreed in SATC to protest outside Neil Carmichael's office in Nailsworth at 5pm on the 5th, with the theme of bringing the effects of the cuts to light/to Carmichael's door. Have you got creative ideas for the protest? Would anyone like to help make a George Osborne guy? Get in touch (details as above).
4. We will discuss plans for the Bonfire of Austerity event at the next SATC organising meeting on Monday 28th October, The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud, 7-9pm (formal meeting starts at 7.15pm prompt). All opposed to cuts and privatisation are welcome to join us at these meetings - please feel free to send agenda items to us. As well as the above event, we will also discuss the ongoing Bedroom Tax campaign (we are collecting signatures for our petition - sheets to be circulated asap) and hear from the Parent Carers Council on county-council cuts to post-16 education funding
5. “Communicating and Campaigning Online” 30th October, 7-9pm, £5. A workshop by SATC members James Beecher and Caroline Molloy for Transition Stroud's SkillsGain series of events. To book contact: Erik Wilkinson
07725 900666. See poster image below:
6. And finally... "Cameron to announce tough clampdown on unemployed Liberal Democrats after next election"
Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
In this email:
1. Reminder of our organising meeting, TOMORROW, Wednesday 9th October, 7pm for 7.15-9pm meeting, The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud.
2. Lobby of Stroud District Council re: Bedroom Tax, Thursday 10th October, at Ebley Mill, and Socialist Party meeting on opposing the Bedroom Tax.
3. Report on the Save Our NHS Protest in Manchester last week from Bristol People's Assembly, and new website for campaign to restore fully functioning A&E at Cheltenham Hospital.
4. Events in support of striking Teachers.
5. March Against Fascism
1. Stroud Against the Cuts meeting: SATC is organised through regular meetings to which all opposed to cuts and privatisation are welcome to attend. Please call James Beecher on 07583 497887 for directions to The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud, and arrive at 7pm for informal discussion before the formal 7.15-9pm meeting.
2. Bedroom Tax lobby of SDC: SATC has been discussing a response to the bedroom tax for some months. We have drafted a motion we hope will be adopted by the District Council at their November 28th meeting. Ahead of this, we are calling on people to lobby councillors on the bedroom tax as they arrive to their October meeting - please arrive at Ebley Mill, Cainscross by 6pm.
The Socialist Party are also organising a public meeting at 7.45pm on Thursday 10th October to discuss the strategy for defeating the Bedroom Tax, at the Exchange.
A leaflet on the bedroom tax is attached.
3. 50,000 march against austerity and to Save Our NHS (from Bristol People's Assembly):
Please note the existence of a new website (and twitter account) for the REACH campaign (Restore A&E at Cheltenham Hospital).
"More than 50,000 people marched outside the Tory Party conference last Sunday in what was a powerful display of opposition to austerity and the ongoing privatisation of the NHS. A number of coach loads from Bristol and the South West joined the protest in Manchester. The size of the demonstration showed the willingness of thousands of people to resist the government's vicious cuts programme and the potential for mobilising a united and powerful movement to defend our welfare state against cuts and halt the dangerous privatisation of our vital public services.
The challenge now is to not lose the momentum of protest and to use it as a launchpad to widen the movement against austerity. This means lending our support to all those out on strike (or balloting for strike action) defending their jobs, their pay and conditions and our local services from government cutbacks in the coming weeks and months. It also means organising and mobilising from now on to make the Bonfire of Austerity, the national day of action on Tuesday November 5th (see below), as big as possible and one which the government will hope to quickly forget. The People's Assembly has called for a day of protest in every town and city on November 5th. Actions will be wide ranging, from occupations of public space or banks, to leafleting, petitioning and road blocking. There is a call for three waves of action: one in the morning, one at lunchtime and one in the evening. Bristol People's Assembly is planning coordinated action around 5 campaigns at 5pm on November 5th.
4. Support for striking teachers (from Bristol People's Assembly):
"Since 2010 the government has embarked on massive changes to education but the majority of these changes are not supported by parents, teachers or schools. The NUT is opposed to the government's changes to teachers' pensions and pay and working together with the NASUWT to protect jobs and working conditions for all teachers. Schools are on the brink of a major crisis that is damaging the teaching profession and will undermine education for years to come.
Teachers in the NUT and NASUWT are going out on strike on Thursday October 17th. March and rally details:
Teachers' strike & rally: 17th October,Rally, food and trade union stalls,Main speaker: Max Hyde (Senior Vice-President NUT)
Rally 11am to 12:00pm
The Bristol Hotel, The Harbourside, Prince Street, Bristol, BS1 4QF
Assemble at College Green, Bristol, BS1 5SP at 10:00am. Leaving 10:30am to march to The Bristol Hotel. More details here. "Why we are striking" NUT leaflet
ALSO: Saturday October 12th Rally for Education (Teachers, head teachers, parents, carers, school governors, pupils and members of public)
11am - 1pm (stalls until 2pm)
Council House, Bristol City Centre
5. "Don't let the haters win - join the march against fascism"
Stroud Against the Cuts was formed following a public meeting against the BNP setting up its media centre in Stroud. Hence it feels appropriate to make you aware of this march on Saturday 12 October 2013 at 12:00-20:00, Liverpool.
6. And finally... regarding the privatisation of our postal services, a notice from the Royal Mail.
Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
Four things in this update:
1. National 'Save Our NHS' protest, THIS SUNDAY 29th September
2. Next SATC meeting, 10/10/2013
3. Update on Bedroom Tax
4. And finally... Gove forced to U-turn by local protest!
In the next few days we are trying to maximise the turnout for the national ‘Save Our NHS’ protest march against government cuts and privatisation, in Manchester this Sunday 29th September. Please do as many of the following as possible this week:
- Book your seat on the coach if you can attend. The coach will leave Merrywalks bus station at 8.30am on Sunday. We will be asking those who can afford it to make donations of between £5 and £10 per person to cover costs, depending on how many of the 49 seats we can fill. If you cannot afford to make a donation you are still more than welcome – no-one will be turned away for lack of funds. Phone Steve Hunter on 07799 812633 or email
ASAP to book your seat.
- Forward this email onto friends and family - and let them know there are also coaches from Gloucester, Swindon, Bristol, and all around the country.
- If you use twitter, retweet this tweet and/or send versions of it to other people on twitter.
- If you use facebook, post the following, or something similar: “No to privatisation - no to cuts - Save Our NHS! Join the Protest outside Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester this Sunday September 29th - see the website for more information".
- Help us leaflet: call Steve Hunter 07799 812633 to find out about leafleting in Stroud High Street, or to pick up leaflets you can pass on yourself. Please feel free to print and distribute the attached A4 poster (which can be photocopied to make an A5 flyer)
The ‘Save Our NHS’ protest will highlight the impact of huge job losses and spending cuts across the health service, as well as the way in which private companies – many of whom are also Conservative Party donors – are taking over our NHS. The demonstration will also raise concerns about the wider effect of the government’s policies.
2. Our next Stroud Against the Cuts meeting will be on Thursday 10th October, at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud. We welcome anyone who wants to join us in campaigning against cuts and privatisation. Please call 07583 497887 if you would like to attend but have not done so previously.
3. Update on the bedroom tax:
On the bedroom tax: arrears are rising fast – in Stroud 120 of the 347 council tenants affected by the policy have been pushed into arrears. Nationally, see C4: Half tenants in arrears; ITV; BBC; Independent: 50,000 face eviction. Meanwhile, “Following a first-tier benefit tribunal judgement against Fife Council that a room of less than 70 sq ft is not a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes, an emergency meeting agreed today that this will now become official council policy”, the UN special rapporteur says benefit cuts may breach human rights, and Labour ministers are now saying “a Labour government will repeal the most unfair and iniquitous tax in this generation.”
There will be a National day of action against the Bedroom Tax on the 26th October, and Stroud Against the Cuts will be discussing our approach at our next meeting on 10th October.
See http://antibedroomtax.org.uk/ for more details.
4. And finally... A few members of Stroud Against the Cuts and other local anti-cuts groups joined a protest organised by the retired members branch of the National Union of Teachers on Friday against Michael Gove's attacks on education. We were able to force the minister into a U-turn, broadcast on BBC Points West!
Unfortunately this was only in his car, and he continues to push his disastrous cuts to the terms and conditions of teachers, changes to the curriculum, and academies (privatisation) program.
See you on Sunday!
for Stroud Against the Cuts
Dear all Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
In this update:
1. Video of Disabled People Against Cuts protests
2. UN rapporteur says impact of bedroom tax is 'shocking'
3. Join us at the NHS protest in Manchester 29th Sept, coinciding with the Tory Party Conference
4. Labour Party motion on NHS
5. Anti-cuts protest in Bath
1. On September 4th, Disabled People Against Cuts staged 5 protests outside government departs as the climax of a week of action. This 15 minute video shows protests outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Department of Health, the Department of Transport, Department of Education, and finally the Department of Work and Pensions:
Find more information on Disabled People Against Cuts, and the manifesto they launched last week, here.
2. Today "UN investigator Raquel Rolnik call[ed] for [the] Government's 'bedroom tax' to be axed". Story in The Independent. This includes the paragraph: <<<In an interview with The Guardian, Rolnik said “the most vulnerable, the most fragile, the people who are on the fringes of coping with everyday life” were being hit hard by the policy.“My immediate recommendation is that the bedroom tax is abolished,” she said.>>>
3. In just over two weeks a national demonstration will be held to "Save Our NHS":
Transport will be available from Stroud for free (or if we need to book another coach, at minimal cost). Please get in touch if you are interested in attending - we believe we should have at least 50 people who want to go in Stroud - 17 are booked so far. Please phone Sue Powell 07947 632437 or Steve Hunter 07799 812633 if you would like to book transport. Once you have booked, let Unite the Union know you are attending.
4. From a member of SATC and the Labour Party: "Labour Party members in the Stroud constituency should have been invited to their all-members meeting this Thursday (12th) at Kingshill House in Dursley. Motions to go to the conference will voted on - one of these is an important one to keep our NHS public. If any members are available to attend, please do so and vote for this motion to go through. See an article on the motion by clicking here, where you can download a copy of the motion"
5. From Protect Our NHS: "The Bath Against Cuts organisation who have been very supportive of efforts to protect our local NHS services, have asked me to let you know about their demonstration against the Bedroom Tax and cuts in Council Tax benefit for many people on Housing Benefit, which mean that the poorest in our society are hundreds of pounds a year worse off. No wonder demand for help is growing at the Food Banks! The protest demonstration is to start on Thursday (12th September) at 6pm outside the Guildhall. Marilyn Freeman Protect Our NHS BANES"
In the next update there will be reports from the NHS History event held in Gloucester last friday and the NSSN lobby of the TUC conference.
And Finally... "Sarah Teather vows to continue as MP on £66,396 pa in protest at Lib Dem policies"
for Stroud Against the Cuts
For the latest updates see our twitter micro-blog: www.twitter.com/stroudanticuts (you do not need to have a twitter account to do this)
Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
In this update:
1. Our next organisational meeting - THIS THURSDAY 5th September
2. Welfare not Warfare/update on Syria
3. Disabled People Against Cuts blockade the BBC
4. Reminders of upcoming events
1. Our next organisational meeting is this Thursday, 5th September. As usual from 7pm-9pm (we now treat the first 15 minutes as informal chat/arriving time - meetings start promptly at 7.15pm). Meetings are held at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud, GL51 (Brick Row is the road between Church St, behind the Police Station, and Lansdown Road). All those who oppose cuts and privatisation are welcome to help discuss and organisation Stroud Against the Cuts events, campaigns and publicity.
2. Stroud Against the Cuts initiated two well-attended street demonstrations, last Thursday (see press release) and Saturday on the High Street in Stroud. Those present on Saturday agreed that weekly demonstrations at 11-12am outside the former Currys shop on the High St should continue (please bring banners etc). At the meeting on Thursday we will discuss our role in continued demonstrations, and whether organisation of protests can be passed to the Stroud Peace Movement (with continued support from SATC). In the run up to the Iraq war weekly and even daily vigils in Stroud went on for months and at the last antiwar demonstration in London (Feb 2003) 14 Coaches travelled from Stroud to one of the largest demonstrations this country has ever seen.
3. Today Disabled People Against Cuts, and other groups including the Black Triangle campaign and Mental Health Resistance Network Mental Health Resistance Network blockaded the BBC's Portland Place officers, in protest at what they called "the whitewashing of the suffering of disabled people in Britain by the BBC", and following
rebutted requests for meetings. See a video made by Kate Belgrave, who recently visited Stroud (featuring comedian Mark Thomas) below. The group has issued a statement which includes the following:
"time and time again the BBC have not only failed to report on what is happening but contribute to public ignorance of what is going on and inflame hostility with questions such as "Why can't disabled people take their fair share?" It is well evidenced that disabled people are bearing the brunt of austerity measures, with those with the highest level of support need being hit nineteen times harder than the average citizen".
4. This Friday 6th September, (contact us to share transport from Stroud)
"Unite Community, SATC, Cheltenham and Gloucester Against Cuts are holding a meeting on Friday 6th September 6.00-8.00pm at the Barton Community Centre, 199 Barton Street, Gloucester, on 65 years of the NHS - a Peoples' History Event. If you are interested in speaking about an aspect of NHS history or helping organise this event, please email Sue Powell:
On Saturday 7th September the Gloucester Parade will also have a historical theme. Cheltenham and Gloucester Against cuts are suggesting local campaigners could join the parade dressed up in nurses/doctors uniforms or with bandages/eye patch et cetera/carrying union banners, or in some way that can raise political issues about the history of the NHS. Again, email Sue Powell if you have ideas/can help:
If you need/can offer shared transport to either event please get in touch via
or 07583 497887
On Sunday 8th September the National Shop Stewards Network is lobbyingthe Trade Union Congress: "Name the Day for a General Strike". Transport is availble locally. Contact Chris Moore: 07810 732379 for details.
Thanks, James Beecher
30/08/2013 short email update
Dear Stroud Against the Cuts supporters,
You will no doubt have heard the news that parliament voted against David Cameron's motion for "in principle" support for UK military intervention in Syria, by 285 votes to 272. You can read (and search for contributions by particular MPs) the transcript of the debate. If you want to, you can even watch it (see below for more on our local MP(s))
We had agreed after yesterday's 8am protest to reconvene at 11am in the High St tomorrow, Saturday 31st August. I propose we continue to do so - though we may choose to alter our message(s) where appropriate. It appears that the USA and France both intend on military intervention, and of course other nations are intervening.
I will certainly be there at that time, and if enough supporters of SATC inform me they will be as well, then we as a group will ensure a press release is sent out, etc. (see below for suggestions/proposals)
Our local MP, Neil Carmichael, and indeed all MPs in Gloucestershire, voted with the Government. Neil Carmichael's full voting record is available.
Despite having a reputation for speaking in debates (on the side of the government), Mr Carmichael did not speak yesterday. However, Richard Graham, Conservative MP for Gloucester, did.
Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham also spoke, three times (for instance)
Mark Harper, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Laurence Robertson (Conservative MPs for the Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, and Tewkesbury respectively) did not speak.
Suggestions for our gathering on Saturday I have received/seen elsewhere:
We wear white
We emphasise protesting against military intervention by the USA
We emphasise protesting against military intervention by all outside powers, including Russia.
We discuss and/or collect donations for the Disasters Emergency Committee Syria appeal
Your ideas are welcome - please email, phone, tweet or bring them along on Saturday at 11am.