Spring 2013 Issue 3 Free
the magazine of Salford City UNISON
Save Our Services!
Youth, Home Care, Neighbourhood Management, Salford Rangers, Mental Health and Museums under threat.
No To Stock Transfer! Council houses in peril
The Pay and Grading Merry-Go-Round Winners, Losers and the Living Wage…
More Salford Fat Cats Cash In! Win £40 of shopping vouchers!
Dear UNISON Members Spring 2013 Issue 3 Free
the magazine of Salford City UNISON
Save Our Services!
Youth, Home Care, Neighbourhood
Management, Salford Rangers, Mental Health and Museums under threat.
No To Stock Transfer!
Council houses in peril
The Pay and Grading Merry-Go-Round
Winners, Losers and the Living Wage…
elcome to our latest edition of Stand up for Salford Since the last edition went out we have been really busy dealing with a number of challenging issues, particularly Pay and Grading, fighting cuts in refuse services, opposing privatisation in adult services and having to re-fight the battle we won last year against the closure of day centres for elderly people and people with learning disabilities.
We can count some successes, such as our fight to get jobs agency workers in refuse More Salford Fat Cats for services, our Campaign for Cash In! Admin, which we believe helped ensure that no admin Plus Win £40 of shopping vouchers! staff will face displacement or restructures under this year’s budget, and our successful battle to safeguard the wages of low-paid catering staff at Salford City College….not to mention the role we played in stopping Irlam and Cadishead College from becoming an Academy. Pay and Grading in Salford Council has of course been a massive issue for the union since last October. The articles on this in the magazine go into more detail, but I will say here that while the new structure has been accepted following our ballot, and while we are pleased to see the gains we achieved since the original offer in October, we know there is a lot more to do. Our number one priority will now be to do everything we can to minimise the losses faced by those who stand to lose out under the new scheme. Our Branch is already engaged in a number of campaigns against privatisation, in defence of jobs and services, and we intend to keep pushing the national union to fight for a decent national pay award this year. Can I again thank you for your on-going involvement in and support for your union. I hope that 2013 will be the year our 1.3m strong union puts this Government in its place. Thanks, Steve
UNISON SPONSORS WARDLEY CE PRIMARY SCHOOL FC
Salford City UNISON has sponsored Wardley CE Primary School football team. Here they are sporting their new kit and we wish them the best of luck becoming champions!
THE GREAT DAVID CAMERON COMPETITION WIN £40 SHOPPING VOUCHERS!!! Salford City UNISON has £40 worth of shopping vouchers to give away, care of Unison Insurance. To win this fab prize just make five funny words out of DAVID CAMERON and, related in some way to David Cameron. Send your funny words to firstname.lastname@example.org, drop them off at the UNISON office or hand them to a steward. The winning entry will be the words that make our UNISON office staff laugh the most. Please include your name and a contact. Competition closes end of June 2013.
CONTACT SALFORD CITY UNISON: Branch Office 434 Chorley Road, Swinton 0161 794 7425/793 3126 email@example.com
Printed by Caric Press Ltd 525 Ringwood Road, Ferndown, Dorset BH22 9AQ Tel: 01202 87166 www.caricpress.co.uk
UNISON OFFICERS AND CONTACT DETAILS Branch Secretary Steven North (07557281475 or firstname.lastname@example.org) Assistant Branch Secretary / Diane Ogg (07557281472 or email@example.com) Education Co-ordinator Branch Treasurer Ameen Hadi (07557281471 (07557281471 or firstname.lastname@example.org) Branch Chair Lawrence Duke (07757281473 or Lawrence.Duke@salfordcityunison.org.uk) Welfare Officer Paula Lawless (07809085203 or Paula.Lawless@salford.gov.uk) Communications Officer Richard Nelson (07971617401 or email@example.com) Health and Safety Officer Alex Gillespie (07557281474 or firstname.lastname@example.org) Membership Officer Kevin Corran (07971495597 or Kevin.Corran@salford.gov.uk) Equalities Officers Sue Wray (07557281476 or email@example.com) Bora Oktas (07748054446 or firstname.lastname@example.org) Lifelong Learning Coordinator Samantha Fargher (Samantha.email@example.com) Education Coordinator Alec McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Lifelong Learning Coordinator Samantha Fargher (Samantha.email@example.com) International Officer Olu Ayodele c/o firstname.lastname@example.org and Labour Link Officer Young Members Officer Rose Stanyon (email@example.com)
Contents The Pay and Grading Merry-Go-Round Winners, Losers and the Living Wage…
More Salford Fat Cats
Salix, City West, Councillors and Mayors cash-in
Save Our Services!
Youth, Home Care, Neighbourhood Management, Salford Rangers, Mental Health and Museums under threat.
No To Stock Transfer! Council houses in peril
Just as the Bedroom Tax bites, the Advice Team is under threat
`It’s not a cut, it’s an efficiency’…new language ahoy!
A Pencil’s Plight Plus… Win £40 of shopping vouchers! Operation Save The NHS! Salford Book Corner!
WINNERS AND LOSERS AND GRADING MERRYWhile some UNISON members gained as a result of the Pay and Grading agreement, others lost out. Here, Steven North explains what the union is doing to help – and how UNISON members forced the Council to back down on its original proposals
The Ballot result is now in and the
Collective Agreement to move onto the new Salford City Council Pay and Grading Structure has been signed. By the time you are reading this it will be in place. We know that the new structure will offer some clear benefits to many of our members: £ A Living Wage of £7.45/hour as a minimum salary for Salford City Council staff, including Apprentices £ No loss of pay for anybody who previously earned less than £21,000 p/a £ Hundreds of our members seeing their wages increase, many by more than £2000 p/a £ A narrowing of the gender pay gap between women and men We also know, however, that the new structure will mean losses in pay for many of our members and our priority now is to do what we can to ensure that we use the period covered by the Pay Protection we successfully fought for to do all we can to minimise and mitigate against those losses.
`Our members forced the Council to listen…’ In order to do this we will be looking at the potential re-evaluation of posts to see whether staff are not being underpaid according to Job Evaluation because their role has changed since 2008. If this is not the case, then we will be asking HR to look at job redesign to try and incorporate duties that would allow JE scores to increase, as well as promotional opportunities. We also need to fight for a decent national pay award this year and hope that Salford City Council will support us in putting pressure on the Local Government Association to say that we are worth more than the 1% we have been offered at the time of writing. We have also written to Ian Stewart to ask for his support in this and are awaiting a response. This is the Mayor’s opportunity to support staff and challenge the Government over its unfair treatment of local government workers and we hope he will take it.
While the new structure causes real problems for many of you – a point we do not take lightly, as evidenced by the letter we sent to the Mayor following his comments about “extremists” who did not support the structure* – and while your problems will be our main focus, it is important to point out how far we have come since October last year when this was first discussed. We mention these developments not because it reflects positively on a handful of union officers, but because it reflects well on the entire membership of our Branch and shows how important it is that we have a strong and engaged union within Salford City Council. In October 2012, the Council approached the trade unions and shared with us a proposal to alter pay and grading, and to take £15m out of the Council’s Pay Bill for the next five years. The proposed scheme would see more people losing money than gaining and the document was accompanied by the threat of imposition through dismissal and reengagement if the unions did not sign up to it.
S IN PAY -GO-ROUND We took the decision to share that document and organised a mass meeting of members to determine your views. You told us you wanted us to reject it and not to sit down with the Council for further negotiations unless it was scrapped. You helped us to lobby councillors by letter and in person and we got it scrapped. We made it clear to the Council that we would not accept any scheme that took money out of pay overall, and that we would consider industrial action if they tried to impose something we could not agree to. The subsequent discussions showed that our members had forced the Council to listen.
The new scheme is by no means perfect, but we have only achieved the gains we have because of your support. That is why we need people in the union. If we werenâ€™t as strong as we were, UNISON believes we would have ended up with what was put forward in October. We need to be as strong as that now to do what we can to mitigate these losses. It will be 12 months before anybody loses money because of pay and grading, and we need to make sure that those 12 months are devoted to doing as much as we can for those who are faced with such a loss. To do that we need a strong union with members behind us â€“ not only to show the Council we are serious, but also so that you can make sure your union negotiators are doing what you rightfully expect us to do. *See letter to the Major on the next page
EXTREME REACTION – UNISON RESPONDS TO MAYOR IAN STEWART 20th March 2013 Dear Ian Re: Pay and Grading We were able to listen to your appearance on BBC Radio Manchester on Monday 18th March and were pleased to hear your commitment to working with the trade unions over the coming period with an aim to minimise and mitigate against any losses in pay arising from the introduction of the City Council’s new Pay and Grading structure. The new structure offers some definite and welcome benefits for many Council staff and the opportunity to promote genuine Living Wage employer accreditation for the City Council and its contractors, suppliers and partners together with other employers based or operating in our city. However, it is important that we jointly understand the situation of those Council employees who face the prospect of a loss in pay and make sure that we share a priority to do what we can to help them. The tone of your radio interview strongly suggested this would be your position and we were happy to hear that. As such, we were subsequently surprised and disappointed to read the following part of the press release carried on the official City Council website: “This overwhelming result in favour of the new structure is a slap in the face for the handful of extremists who tried to derail this agreement and misrepresent what we were trying to do for their own extreme political ends. It shows how out of touch they are with the majority of union members and our 6,000 staff who recognised this was the best deal available in the circumstances.” We cannot comment for GMB and Unite but as you will no doubt be aware 333 people (36.4%) of those who voted in the UNISON ballot – which was conducted on a neutral basis - voted to reject the Pay and Grading proposals. They will be hard-working Salford Council staff who have endured a three year pay freeze, whilst seeing the loss of hundreds of jobs previously occupied by colleagues and then taking on the associated increase in workloads. We would hazard a guess they are unlikely to be “extremists” who are “out of touch”, just ordinary people who are either simply concerned about how a loss of earnings will impact on them and their families or who otherwise voted against the proposals whether they were personally impacted or not. They may represent the minority view in our ballot return but we are sure you would agree that in a free and democratic process every person has the right to vote as they see fit. We sincerely hope you will support those who currently stand to lose under the revised Pay and Grading structure by engaging as you have stated with the unions to minimise and mitigate these losses as far as we possibly can. A timely and immediate way you can help is by committing, on behalf of the City Council, to inform the Local Government Association and the Local Government Employers that you do not believe a 1% NJC pay offer for 2013/14 is fair or sufficient for local government workers and that an improved offer above 1% should be put to the unions. UNISON is asking this of all local authorities and all councillors and we hope this is something you can publicly support. UNISON will practically support any genuine commitment from Salford Council to protecting the communities of Salford from the ravages of this Government’s austerity agenda, and in that respect we see the promotion of high quality employment standards as fundamental. The Council’s Pay and Grading structure offers clear benefits for many employees and the introduction of the Living Wage by the City Council should act as motivation for other employers in the city. However, in recognising such gains we should also recognise the justifiable concerns of those employees who currently face the prospect of a loss of earnings, and make sure those concerns are genuinely listened to.
Yours sincerely, Steven North - Branch Secretary, Salford City UNISON John Lewis, UNISON Regional Organiser and NW Head of Local Government
REVIEW – A PENCIL PAY AND GRADING The Local Authority is looking to review the pay and grading of A Pencil as part of a review of service. This is NOT a cost cutting exercise – rather it is an attempt to simplify and streamline services, and it has become necessary to look at the job A Pencil does.
Pencil has recently (2009) had a Job Evaluation, although this evaluation was `temporary’ and was undertaken as an interim measure. A Pencil was graded at HB level. The Local Authority would now wish to downgrade A Pencil to 2B, as its roles and responsibilities have changed. A Pencil no longer underlines things, as a result of computerised underlining. This is a clear change in role. A Pencil no longer makes corrections to written documentation unless that document has already been printed, and even then there is a Red Pen available for the same process. It is therefore the intention of the Local Authority to enter a period of consultation with A Pencil, its union representatives, and service users before the issuing of a ninety day notice to change the terms and conditions of A Pencil’s contract with the Local Authority. It is the Local Authority’s position that, even though negotiations will be ongoing, there WILL be an imposition of terms and conditions as at 01/04/2013, so there… A Pencil feels that its position as a very important part of the Local Authority’s service has been undermined and it feels uncared for and unloved. It will be writing a pithy response as part of the consultation, detailing the need for the Local Authority to maintain the use of A Pencil in its delivery of service – from the writing of small reminders for staff, to outlining designs on posters that are to be painted in Salford Cerise… . It will also remind the Local Authority that people who traditionally have A Pencil tucked behind one of their ears will no longer be able to do so, should A Pencil be downgraded.
THE LIVING WAGE Salford Council has committed to paying its employees the Living Wage of £7.45 an hour. Here UNISON Equalities Officer, Sue Wray, susses out whether the increase really is a Living Wage…
n the ten years since its launch, initially dismissed as idealistic and impossible, the Living Wage is now recognised as a cause which offers benefits to workers, employers, and to wider society. Across the UK, over 100 employers have signed up to the Living Wage. Salford City Council has followed in the footsteps of Salix Homes and agreed to pay all employees a living wage, currently £7.45 per hour or £13946.40 per annum. Is this a good thing? Well, yes and no. Yes, that the Council has recognised that too many employees were earning the minimum wage or just above. And no, that the Living Wage has been delivered at the expense of many earning just over £21,000, who have seen a cut in their pay. We should remember that those at the top of the Council have had to accept nothing more than a pay freeze. Having made the commitment to paying
the Living Wage, the question is, will Salford City Council remain a Living Wage employer? As to do so, the Council will have to sign up to an annual pay increase which is set annually in November by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. Living Wage employers should implement the new rate as soon as possible following the annual announcement and within six months. How will this sit with National pay negotiations? We will have to wait and see. Recently published data from KPMG painted a rather stark picture of deprivation in the UK, where one in five people in employment are not paid enough to enable them to afford a basic standard of living. So with that statistic in mind, is £7.45 per hour really a Living Wage? Not according to research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which reports that in 2012, a single person in the UK needed to earn at least £16,400 a year before tax to afford a minimum acceptable standard
of living. A family of four (two adults and two children) needs the two parents to earn at least £18,400 (yes, a combined pre tax earnings of £36,800) to support themselves.
`The question is, will Salford City Council remain a Living Wage employer?’ Since 2008, the combined affect of the recession, high unemployment, stagnating wages levels and high inflation has, according to a recent analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), depressed annual income per head by 13%. However, the minimum needed by families for an acceptable living standard remains similar in times of ‘austerity’ as it did previously. But it is getting harder to earn enough to meet the suggested Joseph Rowntree Foundation standard, especially as a pay freeze has been the norm for several years, not to mention the loss of essential car user allowance for many and charges for parking in the workplace. The reality is that the gap
E – HIT OR MISS? between the incomes and needs of the worst-off households is widening, especially for families with children. Is the Living Wage a myth? It is looking more like it. Let’s look at some statistics…
`A family of four needs the two parents to earn at least £18,400 - pre- tax earnings of £36,800 - to support themselves’ Inequality has grown sharply over the past 15 years. Before 2008, and the global economic collapse brought about by the US subprime mortgage crisis, the income inequality was already high in the UK and rising. This inequality has continued to rise. Now the top 1% of earners pocket 10p in every pound of income paid in Britain, while the poorest half of the population take home only 18p of every pound between them, and the gap between those at the very top and the rest of society is widening. The 1% continue to gather wealth at the expense of the rest of us; the 99%. In the ever increasing flexible labour market the
top earners see their salaries continue to soar, whilst for the rest of us our wages have not just stagnated but we have seen a cut in pay in real terms. According to Heather Wakefield, UNISON’s Head of Local Government, council workers earnings have fallen by 16% since 2009 and we now earn 10% less in real terms than in 1996; for those who lost out under the pay and grading review, this figure will be considerably greater.
A recent UNISON survey found more than half of members applying for help from UNISON welfare to pay their fuel bills had sacrificed food to keep warm, while 69% had cut back on clothing and 80% on leisure. The survey also revealed that 77.7% avoid putting the heating on, while 54.6% only heated the room they were in. The Living Wage is a start, but what we need to see is a more equal society, not a society where the poorest fifth of households pay 11% of their income in VAT, whilst the richest fifth only pay 5%. Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, has called for a policy of “pre-distribution” to narrow the gap between the best and worst paid. Will he keep his word?
The Living Wage – A Brief History… The Living Wage campaign was launched by the charity London Citizens in 2001 and in 2005 following successful Living Wage campaigns and growing interest from employers, the Greater London Authority established the Living Wage Unit to calculate the London Living Wage and from this the Living Wage campaign grew into a national movement with local campaigns emerging across the UK.
In 2008 the Centre for Research in Social Policy funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation began calculating a UK wide Minimum Income Standard figure. To calculate if your earn enough for a basic standard of living check out the Minimum Income Calculator http://www. minimumincome.org.uk/
NO TO STOCK
SMASH THE BED Branch secretary, Steven North looks at the link between the potential stock transfer of Salix Homes and the fight against the Bedroom Tax
Over the last few months UNISON has been working hard
to try and engage Salford City Council in a discussion about what the outcome of the current `Stock Options Appraisal’ on the future of Council-owned homes currently managed by Salix Homes could mean for our members working for Salix and the Council.
`Instead of answering our questions, Councillor Merret chose to write back to say that UNISON would not be allowed to be part of the process…’ UNISON has a national position, that has been repeatedly endorsed at our Annual National Delegates Conference, of opposition to the selling off of Council Housing. This is because we believe that social housing should be available based on need, rather than something that private companies can make money out of. Council houses were hard fought for by previous generations and are there to ensure decent and affordable housing for all. Their disappearance has implications for homelessness, and for young people particularly who cannot afford to buy or rent privately, and who can no longer (and should no longer be expected to) live with their parents. Despite this clear policy position, Salford UNISON recognised that any final decision would be made by tenants and also wanted to make sure that our members were comfortable with us opposing the stock transfer and working with campaign
groups like Defend Council Housing and Salford Against the Cuts to argue for the stock to remain with the Council. Rather than immediately jump to a position of opposition to transfer, our members at Salix – reasonably - wanted to know what it would mean for their future prospects. As such, we wrote a letter to the City Mayor and Assistant Mayor for Housing, Councillor Gena Merret. We asked a series of questions about what the cost of borrowing would be for an organisation receiving the homes to bring them up to Decent Homes Standards, whether the Council had a timescale by which it could achieve necessary improvements if tenants voted to stay with the Council, whether this would mean increased rents, whether terms and conditions of staff might need to be considered etc. All reasonable questions…..well, not according to Councillor Merrett. Instead of answering our questions, Councillor Merret chose to write back to say that UNISON would not be allowed to be part of the process because we were pledged to oppose the transfer. This was despite the fact we had made it clear that we just wanted answers. So we wrote back and said as much, before politely asking the questions again. In her response Councillor Merrett chose to continue the same line…that we wouldn’t be given answers because it wasn’t our right to know, but that we would be involved once a decision had been made by tenants…basically once it was too late and our chances of letting our members (the people whose jobs this would affect) have their say.
DROOM TAX! In the end we went to the Salford Star, which published the responses from Councillor Merrett…needless to say, she wasn’t very happy with it.
`Our concern was that if the Council sold off its housing, a `No Evictions’ policy would be effectively useless’ However, it worked (partly) and we received some information from the Council on the process and what was being considered. To sum up the report we received, it basically told us that transfer was the only affordable way of bringing homes up to Decent Homes Standard. Yet it contained no business plans, no rent projections and no justification for the pretty bold assumption that the Government would probably write off all Housing Revenue Account Debt owed by the Council if the stock were transferred. The final bullet point in the summary at the end of the document stated as follows: * `A transfer option needs to provide the best structure of financial viability and governance that will make the option both acceptable for all stakeholders and attractive to customers in a ballot. If transfer is considered to be the only viable option, then it is imperative that a positive ballot result is achieved, otherwise all of the costs leading up to a ballot will be wasted, and cuts will still need to be made.’ In other words, it needs to be presented to customers as the only option, as the cost of a genuinely democratic outcome could be too high. This worried us all a bit considering that the relevant statutory guidance on stock transfers states:
“Tenants need to understand why the local authority is proposing to transfer their housing, but should not feel that the main purpose of the consultation document is to sell the transfer; rather, it should give neutral information. A balanced and informative approach is needed, which provides brief information on all the options that have been considered.” While we were waiting for this information, the campaign against the Bedroom Tax had started to get going. The first Salford meeting, in Broughton, had decided that tenants and unions should campaign for a `No Evictions’ policy from Salford Council, so that nobody would be left homeless either because they couldn’t afford to pay their rent and/or because there were no properties of the right size that would exempt them from the Bedroom Tax available for them. UNISON supported this call, but our concern was that if the Council sold off its housing, a `No Evictions’ policy would be effectively useless. So we met again with our members from Salix and shared with them the information we had received about the potential stock transfer, as well as the concerns we had about the Bedroom Tax if the stock were sold off. It was at this point our members told us that they had waited long enough for proper involvement from the Council and now wanted UNISON to campaign against stock transfer and against the Bedroom Tax. That is what we now intend to do and while you are reading this, we hope to be engaged in discussions with Defend Council Housing, Salford Against the Cuts, Anti-Bedroom Tax campaigners and Tenants Groups to fight two battles, but two battles which are essentially a part of the same war…The war for decent, affordable housing for all.
MORE SA FAT CATS Following the popularity of last issue’s feature on Salford Fat Cats and the imposition of even more cuts and austerity, we thought members might like to see more of how the other half lives off public money… SALFORD COMMUNITY LEISURE Get yer violins out… “The financial year 2011-12 was a hugely challenging year” states the SCL’s accounts document “The employees have borne the brunt of the pressure for efficiencies and despite this it is a great tribute to them that the front line services have continued to expand, develop and improve…” Indeed, SCL saw a deficit of over half a million quid plus voluntary redundancies, early retirement and reduction of hours. So it will come as no great surprise to learn that total pay and pensions contributions for the two SCL Executive Directors jumped from £144,778 in 2011, to £162,986 in 2012. Hugely challenging indeed…for some.
MANCHESTER AIRPORT GROUP Along with nine other councils in Greater Manchester, Salford Council owns a (now reduced since they flogged it off) stake
in Manchester Airport Group. High flyers there earned more than Salford Council got in revenue from the airport during 2011-12… Executive Director Charlie Cornish got £480,000 in `emoluments’, including a £55,000 `incentive’, a £15,000 `car/ fuel card cash alternative’ and £4,000 `benefits in kind’. This was over double his £200,000 package the year before. Meanwhile, fellow director Penny Coates handbagged a £111,000 `incentive’ as part of her total £283,000 package, and director Neil Thompson a £22,000 `incentive’ as part of his £233,000 package. The Airport also paid in a total of £203,300 for four directors, including the three above, for its Group’s money purchase scheme, a pension type thing. One Non Executive Director, Mike Davies also pulled in £125,000.
SALIX HOMES Bedroom Tax? This lot won’t be paying no Bedroom Tax! In the financial year 2012, Chief Exec, Kevin Scarlett trousered £110,000 including pension contributions – and then left for fat catteries new as the going got tough. Meanwhile, Captain Scarlett, plus Deputy Chief Exec, Joe Willis; Director of Business Support, Alison Hamnett; Director of Customer Services and Neighbourhoods, Sue Sutton; and Director of Finance and ICT, Robert Wakefield, pocketed £435,000 between them, including salary and pensions. The £435,000 is slightly down from £462,000 the previous year because Mr Wakefield left in October 2011. His post has since been `deleted’.
CITY WEST The `not for profit’ housing trust actually
managed to make a `surplus’ during the last financial year of £11.278million… The highest paid Director at City West got an `emoluments’ package of £152,153, excluding pension, in the year to March 2012 – a rise of almost £23,000 on the previous year. Altogether five City West Directors got paid over £100,000 in the 2012 financial year, compared to four the previous year. City West, describes itself as having `charitable objectives’. But during that year made charitable donations of just £3,005. Meanwhile, its employees made donations of £3,901.
For the year 2011-12, the Director of Contract Services got a pay rise which saw his total package, including salary, car user allowance, expenses and pension contributions go up by £2,226 to a whopping £101,107, and the Treasurer and Deputy Clerk saw his total package rise to £121,810 thanks to a hike in employer pension contributions. Meanwhile, the Executive Director, under the Flexible Retirement Policy, now works for the equivalent of just three days a week, although he keeps his full car users allowance (£1,239) and, together with expenses, pulls in £68,953.
GREATER MANCHESTER WASTE DISPOSAL AUTHORITY (GMWDA)
Salford tax payers cough up nearly £14million towards the GMWDA so it’s good to see our councillors cashing in too (see Salford Councillors Panel).
“Our aim is zero waste” states the GMWDA, and adds that it’s been another “challenging” year.
We’re sure that Salford Council refuse collectors, currently on hard times, will be really pleased to hear all this.
GREATER MANCHESTER FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY Fat Cats on a hot tin roof, anyone? According to the Chairman of the GMFRA, 2011/12 was a “challenging year due to budget pressures”. And sure enough it was, with a recruitment freeze on fire fighters, and cuts in uniform replacements and operational equipment. It didn’t stop Chief Exec, S McGuirk, picking up a package worth £200,255 during 2011-12, including expenses and pension contributions. Or the Deputy County Fire Officer receiving a £163,361 `remuneration’, which included pension contribution and expenses. The Director of Emergency Response got £142,587; the Director of Prevention and Protection got £140,617; and the Director of Finance and Technical Services got £120,257.
SALFORD CITY COUNCIL Moneyed Mayors and Cash-in Councillors… Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart – Pockets £69,000 for being Mayor, while he also got a £55,000 `resettlement grant’ after standing down as an MP, plus an MP’s pension estimated at between £15,000 and £22,500, and also gets an income from renting out his part taxpayer funded second home in London to MP Gerry Sutcliffe who pays £1,300 a month `accommodation costs’. Deputy Mayor, David Lancaster - almost doubled his Council allowance this year, drawing £44,850 for changing his role from Deputy Leader to Deputy Mayor. Before it was scrapped in 2012, Councillor Lancaster also received £18,488 for his governance role for the Greater Manchester Police Authority. Former Salford Council Leader, John Merry – in 2012 Councillor Merry did rather well from his out of Council activities, pocketing £8,666 from the now defunct North West Development Agency for just two days work a month. From September 2012 he also began trousering £7,778 from the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People’s Board. He also, of course, picks up his Assistant Mayor allowance of £23,091. Assistant Mayor for Transport, Roger Jones – gets £19,838 for being Assistant Mayor for Transport…but then gets a further £3,825 for sitting on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, surely part of the job? Other councillor cash-ins... Councillor Ray Mashiter, who received £22,209 in Salford Council allowances during 201112, got a further £2,916 for `governing’ the Waste Disposal Authority, GMWDA, as did Councillor James Hunt, supplementing his councillor allowance of £9,023. For their `Corporate Governance’ roles at the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, on top of their basic Salford Council allowances, Councillor Iain Lindley trousered £5,299.84, Councillor George Wilson £3,974.91, and Councillor Jim Dawson hosed up £3,911.91. Councillors also did rather well sitting on City West’s board during 2011-12, with Councillors Robin Garrido (£1,310), James Dawson (£1,896), Joe Kean (£1,686) and Adrian Brocklehurst (£1,613) sneaking in a bit of overtime on behalf of residents. Councillor Brocklehurst left the board in June 2012, to be replaced by Councillor Michael Wheeler.
£100MILLION CUTS “If I was the union leader…I couldn’t possibly ask my members to agree to these things” Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart Salford Council this year is making £16.712million of cuts, on top of £6.725million already budgeted, to bring the total to £23.437million for the year 2013-14. Childrens Services are to be slashed by over £5million, while Adult Services will take a hit of over £7million in what City Mayor Ian Stewart called “an unparalleled attack on public services”. Since the ConDem Government has come to power in 2010, Salford will have suffered £100million in cuts. This latest round includes… • 151 job losses • Closure of Eccles and Barton Moss Children’s Centres and the re-location of Mossfield Children’s Centre into the new Swinton Gateway • The Council no longer providing care for vulnerable adults whose needs are ranked as `Moderate’ – only for those with `Critical’ or `Substantial’ needs • Making adults contribute up to 6% of their care costs • A reduction in subsidy for the music service MAPAS • Reductions in speech and language support • Over £600,000 slashed from home care support services • Over £2million slashed from children’s outside placements and fostering • £850,000 axed from residential care budget pushing vulnerable adults into `care in the community’. • A £345,000 cut in Public Health Support • Loss of three ranger posts • Park and cemetery gates will remain unlocked at night • Increase in taxi licence fees • Almost £500,000 cut from the Highways budget • A pay freeze for senior management but no pay cuts for top earners, like Chief Executive, Barbara Spicer
CHILDREN’S DISABILITIES SOCIAL WORKERS TO BE SLASHED The Council is cutting teachers and teaching assistants for Support Services for children with sensory impairments while employing a new highly paid Head of Service: Springwood school is cutting Teaching Assistants and now the Council is considering cutting three social workers from Children’s Disabilities Social Work Team. Shouldn’t the Council be protecting frontline workers and services to
“If the Labour Council cannot protect services for those children with disabilities from the ConDem Government what can it do?” says a parent with a deaf child.
will continue to campaign with parents” says Ameen Hadi, UNISON Treasurer “Our members care about the children and their service; something that is clearly lacking in the attitude of senior management and the Council.”
“We have organised a public meeting, with the support of Salford Deaf Children’s Society, against these cuts and
UNISON finds these cuts to be unacceptable and will continue to campaign against them.
THE LANGUAGE OF AUSTERITY The ConDem Goverment says that public services have to be axed to cut the budget deficit, yet the budget deficit caused by bailing out the banks is not getting smaller.
More tax breaks for the rich is making them richer but welfare cuts and job cuts is making all of us poorer. More Austerity leads to less growth, which in turn leads to more cuts. This logic is madness and must be stopped. The Mayor says the cuts are horrendous but Salford Council bosses are telling us something else. Members in Heritage Services, Salford Museum and Ordsall Hall face job cuts and pay cuts with a loss of service to the public. However, Council bosses are insistent there is no cut to service. Elsewhere, they say a `cut’ is a “saving” to make the service more efficient…
When is a consultation NOT a consultation? When a budget decision has already been taken! Council bosses are insistent there is no cut to service in Heritage Services, Salford Museum and Ordsall Hall, so they do not need to consult the public. What happened to the public’s democratic right to know what is happening to their services? Meanwhile, management tell us that service users need to “Get a life not a service!” What about when the services we provide are their lifeline? Management tell us we must do more for less. Apart from the obvious fact that you get less for less, it does not apply to themselves. When asked at a Pay and Grading briefing why the Chief Executive
and other senior management were having no pay cut the Mayor told us that they are having to do more work! Why are there no cuts to Senior Management in your proposal? `We need the management to make the cuts, sorry, “savings”, which is really just making things more efficient.’ In school support services for children with sensory impairments the Council are cutting two teachers and two teaching assistants but creating a new highly paid head of service. How did they justify this? We are told that there is too much ‘Additionality’ in the service and therefore we need a new manager to make the service more efficient. What does this mean? ‘Additionality’ is staff spending too much time supporting these vulnerable children, caring too much - so we need a new manager to sort this out? Next they will be telling us that the children are inefficient and need to be cut!
GENERAL STRIKE TO STOP AUSTERITY Salford City UNISON has unanimously passed a motion supporting a call for a 24 hour General Strike to resist austerity measures. At the TUC Congress, UNISON put forward a motion that “there needs to be a strong voice from all TUC affiliated unions to protect public and private sector workers, the unemployed, our children, the elderly and all those in our society who are vulnerable…the trade union movement must continue leading from the front against this uncaring government with a coalition of resistance taking coordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike.” Our Branch has passed a resolution supporting UNISON’s motion, also calling on UNISON’s NEC to work together with other unions to find the most appropriate way to coordinate the biggest possible
“The horrendous situation facing working people in Greece could be our future if we don’t stop the ConDem attacks” it stated “We believe austerity cuts must be stopped, and that the labour movement has the potential to force a massive U-turn on this Coalition government of the rich, if our trade unions were to organise action decisively together.”
Salford Museum and Ordsall Hall
Hundreds of signatures! Sevice users outraged! Yet the Council, so far, refuses to consult the public!
UNISON opposes the cuts proposed for Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall. These cuts are being unfairly targeted at the museum service with a complete disregard for service users, local communities, families and schools. As such, we are demanding a public consultation. Local people and service users have contacted us in huge numbers and are disgusted that Salford Community Leisure (SCL) would behave in this way, completely disregarding their opinions. Closing one day per week will limit Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall’s ability to be valuable and useful to the local community, whose support has helped build the theses valued institutions. What would these cuts mean? Loss of Learning: Closing the Museum and the Hall for one day a week will reduce the number of days available for school visits. In autumn and spring term the service is oversubscribed, and schools will not arrange their visits in other terms Over 8% of people visiting Salford Museum and Art Gallery over the last year stated that “a child who has been on a school trip” was the main reason they then visited the museum. If SCL are looking to reduce the number of school sessions we can deliver this will have a knock on effect on the museum’s visitors figures and therefore on our potential to generate revenue. Loss of Memories Matter service – this is a reminiscence resource loans service, lending boxes, exhibitions and picture packs for free to over 300 organisations working with an estimated 5,500 older people in Salford. The team also runs creative projects, visits and staff training sessions for these clients. Loss of Life Times Link – the local history publication has
around 300 subscribers and with about 18,000 people accessing the current online version. 12,000 people a month access online past issues. The end of support for local history groups and societies The end of interpretation and support for exhibitions In LifeTimes Gallery The end of access to LifeTimes photographic and oral history collection Threat to Local History Library - if the proposals go ahead it will mean that the Library will have to reduce to an appointment-only service. This will be the only way to control the flow of enquiries, whilst also allowing the librarian – who will be the sole employee – the ability to take annual leave and deal with administration duties. It would also impact on our current Heritage Lottery Fund bid to digitise some of the image collection, which would mean the Librarian’s time can be purchased by researchers – ensuring that income is generated by the Library to prevent future ‘efficiencies’. The cuts would mean an end to the first unconditionally free public library in the UK and should be put to public consultation before implementation, due to the devastating impact they would have on the museum service. Please support our ongoing campaign. Rose Stanynon, SCL Steward, Heritage Services
TIME FOR YOUTH RESISTANCE! Council bosses are putting together their final plans which will lead to the decimation of the City’s Council Youth Services. Practically half the annual budget of £640,000 is to be slashed, with thirty jobs at risk.
Salford Youth Service delivers work to young people across Salford through: o Youth Centres o Detached Work, where youth workers meet young people out on the street. o Youth Forums o in mainstream and specialist schools o with young people who are excluded from school o with teenage mums and young dads o with homeless young people in groups and one to one o with young people who have run away from home. Many of these young people do not engage with any other services and gain huge amounts from their involvement with youth workers and
youth based provision. Salford UNISON and Unite the union have a joint campaign against Youth Service cuts: So that people’s concerns and protests are coordinated, there will be a contact person in each locality and meetings held to work out the best way forward. Central (Ordsall, Broughton, Kersal, Weaste The Precinct and Langworthy): Skippy 778 0700 North (Swinton, Duchy and the Height): Emily and Rob: 737 3924 / 921 2253 West (Little Hulton, Walkden, Worsley and Boothstown): Carole and Chris: 799 6674 South (Eccles, Irlam, Cadishead and Irlam): Anthony and George 775 3800
If we do nothing this time next year
half of Salford Youth Service will be gone forever!
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ADULT CARE? Cuts and outsourcing (privatisation to you and me), with vulnerable service users literally being left in the cold. Is this how Salford protects its frontline services for the most vulnerable? The Battle To Be Consulted Since budget proposals were seen to commission out (privatise) Home Care, Mental Health Support Services and Day Services, the union has been fighting a battle, together with our members, to even be consulted about proposals. This failure by the Council to allow us access to basic information
about their plans has led to the Branch Secretary lodging a dispute.
In a letter to the Head of Human Resources, Debbie Brown, our concerns were outlined, which included “a failure to consult on a `genuine and meaningful basis’, contrary to the long established collective bargaining procedures between the Council and its recognised trade unions”. To date, despite repeated and reasonable attempts from UNISON at Directorate, Branch and Regional level for the detailed information that was used to support the budget proposal and
future service delivery proposal for the Intermediate Home Support Service, there has been no information provided. The letter concludes: “I am concerned that a similar situation may arise with regards to proposals around the future delivery of Mental Health services and the current situation with regards to Day Services.” What next? These vulnerable services need the support of every member of our branch. If they get away with this attack it will be your job next.
SAVE OUR RANGERS!
Volunteer rangers and green space users pledge support as three jobs to be axed… In setting its Budget in February, Salford City Council agreed to a £93,000 cut in funding for the Rangers service, which not only looks after Salford’s parks and green spaces, but also provides support for volunteers and friends groups who give up their time to do the same. The cut will mean the loss of three jobs, which will have a detrimental impact on areas such as Clifton Country Park, Blackleach Country Park in Walkden and Victoria Park in Swinton. Two jobs will be created for specific work at Irwell River Park, but those posts will be filled by existing staff, meaning that the areas currently supported will see a reduction of three rangers.
At a show of support for the Rangers Team, staged at Clifton Country Park by green space users, volunteer rangers and Salford City UNISON, the volunteers pledged to support their full time, paid colleagues. “When we had our recent volunteer
forum meeting we discussed this, and we’re not here to take the place of the paid rangers, that is completely understood, we have a consensus about that” said Paul Harris “We can’t operate without the paid rangers. We need them to lead us, we need their skills and advice and, of course, there are health and safety and insurance issues there as well. “We want to work together with them and not have them taken away from us” he added “It’s vital to keep this service going, we’ll be pushing for full protection for these posts, and, again, call on the Council to think again.” Green space and park users from all over the city have also given massive support to the rangers, collecting petitions and urging Salford Council to put its axe away… “If the Ranger Team are not available to organise and supervise activities in future, our Association, and others across Salford, will be unable to offer these beneficial ecological projects and educational sessions to our community, and the good work of previous years will
be undone” said Bruce Thompson of Ellesmere Park Residents Association. “Salford’s green spaces need protection and there are willing volunteers to assist in this, but knowledge and guidance will always be required” he added “This is the role of the Ranger Team, working with the community to encourage active outdoor work, with a benefit for all concerned.” One of our Rangers Team explained that green spaces need to be cared for, and local people need to be involved, to help them respect and understand their environment. “Without a ranger presence, the quality of the environment will decline, and they become hot spots for crime and antisocial behaviour” they said “The cost to Salford Council of repairing the damage will far exceed any savings made by cutting the Ranger Team. It’s a false economy that will become apparent when the rangers have gone.”
SAVE OUR SCHOOLS! SPRINGWOOD PRIMARY SPECIAL SCHOOL A proposal is under way to re-structure the staff at this ‘special’ Salford school, creating a lot of fear and anger amongst staff and parents. Under the current proposal, if allowed to go ahead, it would mean eight members’ (support staff) posts are to be desolved or downgraded (just like that!), years of experience and specialism wiped out. So who’s going to lose out? This is a huge concern for staff and parents alike. For more details contact myself Diane Ogg (Assistant Branch Secretary) Salford UNISON Tel 0161 794 7425 Mob 07557281472
VICTORY! It was like music to our ears when we learnt that Irlam and Cadishead College had been denied Academy status by the Department for Education. To say we were elated is an understatement. Salford UNISON branch campaigned hard last year, protesting against the school applying to be a stand alone academy. We lobbied the governing body twice, as well as leafleting the wider community along with several Labour councillors who also opposed the idea of the school becoming an academy. The rejection of the application was a huge success for our campaign. As far as we are concerned it proves that with members’ efforts and determination privatisation CAN be stopped.
UP TO 60% STAFF LOSS IN NEIGHBOURHOOD MANAGEMENT TEAMS This year, further cuts of over £172,000 are being proposed to the Neighbourhood Management service, when, by the Council’s own admission, only £137,000 is required. The East Salford area has witnessed over 60% loss of staff since 2010 and, under current proposals, East Salford has again been disproportionately hit, with the loss of a Community Development worker and a Neighbourhood Development worker. Ordsall and Langworthy, Little Hulton and Walkden, Claremeont and Weaste, and Eccles will also suffer loss of staff. So far, Salford Council has ignored UNISON’s request for there to be a full public consultation. We believe that it is the public’s democratic right to be consulted and for community groups to give their views. Why is this not happening? Why are the poorest
communities in Salford being disproportionately targeted? And why is it workers who have the most direct engagement with the community are being targeted? Again we are campaigning for a public consultation. The Assistant Mayor, Councillor Merrett, was due to consider our request on the 18th of April. If you want more information please contact Ameen at the Unison Office.
As Salford’s Welfare Rights and Debt Advice team are needed more than ever, UNISON steward Richard Holland explains that the future of the service is still in doubt
A s I write, poor and vulnerable people
in Salford are on the verge of a massive attack on their standards of living through Government changes to welfare benefits. Terms that have up until now been fairly obscure are now a terrible reality… Council Tax Reduction Scheme - a cut in the amount of benefit payable; the infamous ‘Bedroom Tax’ - effectively a cut in the amount of Housing Benefit payable to those in Social Housing; and the Salford Discretionary Support Scheme - a localised replacement for the Social Fund which has 45% less available to vulnerable people in Salford in a crisis, and may well disappear after two years when it is absorbed into Local Government budgets.
`The future of our service and other similar services in Salford is still in doubt’ …That’s not all: Universal Credit – a replacement for many different benefits – is being piloted in parts of Greater Manchester, and is supposed to start nationally from October, whilst Personal Independent Payment has replaced Disability Living Allowance, making it much harder for disabled people to become eligible for this benefit.
But whilst the demand for Welfare Rights and Debt Advice will definitely increase in Salford, the future of our service and other similar services in Salford is still in doubt. Like us, Salford CAB faces an uncertain future owing to the Governments axing of Legal Aid from 31st March this year. Redundancies are certain to follow, along with the organisation’s ability to undertake complex Welfare Benefits and Debt Advice. The Council’s own Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service is currently still undergoing a review which has so far lasted 20 months, and as far as we can see, has produced nothing worth considering. There are still vague notions of ‘empowering’ vulnerable people to solve their own problems via a website or a leaflet; a website will give people tips on ‘managing money’ (what little they have after the Government has cut benefits left, right and centre); and there is a notion that we will train and support others to do our jobs, which obviously takes time away from us providing that much needed and ever more in-demand advice. It’s as if all of this is an exercise in justifying the existence of a tier of management, at the expense of our service and our members. And the £350,000 ‘corporate saving’ that was
supposed to have been cut from advice across the city is still in the background – is it still to be applied, or isn’t it? Let us know if you find out. No doubt, as with the recent interim report about the future of our service, we’ll be the last to know. The warm words Ian Stewart uses to pay tribute to our service contrast with the ice-cold deeds the of the Council’s Pay and Grading review: 60% of us are facing pay cuts of between £900 and £1,750 in our salaries – we are amongst the ‘losers’ under the deal. Those not facing these cuts are losing their future increments under the new structure, meaning future rises up the pay scales have disappeared. To add insult to injury, we have heard talk that our service is not ‘fit for purpose’, as if we are Salford’s equivalent of the UK Border Agency or Child Support Agency. Let’s be clear – in the last financial year our service - despite a cut of 30% so far and the loss of staff through VS and VER - still raised £7million in benefits for vulnerable people in Salford. Our service still raises £8 for those people for every £1 spent on it. These are real, tangible amounts that affect real people in this City, improving their lives – and in stark contrast to vanity projects like fountains and bridges.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE BREAKDOWN
The campaign to protect mental health services by Salford City UNISON members continues. As Kevin Corran explains… Salford Council wants to remove the Community Care Workers from the groups and drop-ins that provide a vital and successful service to mental health service users, so they can provide more one to one support. These proposals from 2012, also called for £80,000 cuts, which equated to three posts going. These posts have now gone and the service users are waiting to hear about the future of the groups and drop-ins, from the service user consultation. The groups and drop-ins provide a city wide supportive network, seven days a week, based in community settings. There are drop-ins based at Clifton Community Centre, the Broughton Hub, and the Rainbow Rooms in Eccles, as well as a Mens Group at Pendleton Gateway, a Snooker Group at Swinton, a Social
Group at the Energize Centre, and the Football Project at Ordsall Fit City. The Community Care Workers also facilitate the successful CHUG leisure pass and the Marooned Magazine. These services are valued highly by the service users and other mental health staff. The most recent Salford Council proposals for the Community Care Workers would see this service going out to tender, a euphemism for privatisation. The staff team is wholly against this move, as are the Floating Support Workers at Hollybank, Ingleside and Victoria Crescent, who will also have their service privatised by the same proposal. These three residential units provide high quality support, rehabilitation and care to their tenants, supporting them towards greater independence in the community. These groups of staff have come together to launch a campaign to protect the mental health services provided by Salford Council. Mental Health Service users groups in Salford have also rallied behind the staff and UNISON members in
opposing the transfer of this valuable and successful in-house service to an external provider. They know that any transfer to external providers could lead to a reduction in the quality of the service. The staff would also see attacks on their wages and terms and conditions.
Salford City UNISON and United Service Users Committee (USUC) have organised a meeting `Mental Health Cuts Kills!’ at 6 pm Tuesday 7th May. Buile Hill Conference Centre, Buile Hill Park, Eccles Old Road Salford, M6 8GL Speakers: Sheila Coleman(Unite Community NW, Karen Reissmann (UNISON NEC), Kevin Bennett ( Warrington anti cuts rebel councillor).
NO PRIVATISATION OF HOME SUPPORT SERVICE! Salford Council is proposing to privatise, or `outsource’, its Intermediate Home Support Enablement Service, which has fully trained staff with considerable years of experience working with some of the most vulnerable and, predominantly, elderly people in the city.
UNISON has recently conducted a report into the crisis in privatised home care, and General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “This report has highlighted the very real crisis of the home care system, which is failing both the people receiving care and the people providing it.”
The in-house quality service currently supports people who have recently left hospital but the Council wants to feed it to a private sector which offers, at best, minimum standards of care and support – that is poorly paid, poorly trained and provides as little as possible enablement time.
When privatised services have failed, both financially and in terms of minimum levels of care, it’s been Council workers who have stepped in. What would happen if there was no Council service to fall back on? Answers on a postcard to Salford City UNISON…
On 22nd April UNISON members will begin voting to decide who sits on the National Executive Council of our trade union. The NEC (National Executive Council) is the body that decides on issues and campaigns between Conferences and it works with UNISON staff to support members. Below are the names of the candidates nominated by the Salford branch, together with a timetable leading up to the ballot.
Further information from UNISON Direct Call: 0845 355 0845 Or freephone textphone: 0800 0967 968 Lines are open 6am-midnight Monday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturdays
National Executive Council Elections 2013-2015
CANDIDATES NOMINATED BY SALFORD BRANCH…
Local Government Service Group
GLENN KELLY PAUL HOLMES SONYA HOWARD and PHOEBE WATKINS
Male Seat General Seat Female Seat
KIERAN GROGAN JANET BRYAN
General Seat Female Seat
Community Service Group
APRIL ASHLEY HUGO PIERRE MONIQUE HIRST TONY WILSON BERNIE GALLAGHER KAREN REISSMANN ROGER BANNISTER
Female Seat Male seat Female Seat
General Seat Female Seat Female Seat Male Seat
National Executive Council Elections 2013-2015Timetable 22 April 2013 - Voting starts. Voting papers are sent to members. 29 April – 21 May - Voting helpline open for members. 24 May - Voting ends 5pm. 10 June - The results are published If you need any more info on the NEC or the election the following links should help… For the elections: http://www.unison.org.uk/elections/pages_view.asp?did=15126 For the NEC: http://www.unison.org.uk/about/national.asp
BLACKLIST HERO Over 100 people gathered at Saffron Restaurant in March to pay tribute to Steve Acheson, who for years has campaigned to expose the Blacklisting of Trade Unionists in the construction industry.
Messages of support and solidarity were delivered by activists from a range of unions and community organisations, and our Branch filled one of the tables with stewards and members from different
areas across the city. We’re not sure as of yet how much was raised on the night, but whatever the amount we know that it will go to a good cause. Steve has been tireless in exposing the victimisation of those who have campaigned for decent health and safety on construction sites across the country. As one of the speakers said, “He is a genuine working class hero!”.
Salford City UNISON will continue to support Steve and, as such, we are signing up to the Steve Acheson Defence Campaign. We would encourage all our members to visit the Facebook page and pledge your support. https://www.facebook.com/ SteveAchesonDefenceCampaign Steven North
FREE SPEECH ATTACKED On 1st February 2013, Freedom Bookshop in Whitechapel, London suffered a firebomb attack at the hands of an as yet unknown assailant. Although no-one was hurt, the bookshop was badly damaged and much of the stock of books and pamphlets was either damaged or destroyed, together with some of the 127 year-old archive of publications. The bookshop, founded in 1886 and in its current location since 1939, is the home of the anarchist Freedom Press, Freedom Publishing and Freedom Newspaper, while it served as an office for London Coalition Against Poverty, the Advisory Service for Squatters and Corporate Watch. Over the years its press has published works by a veritable ‘who’s who’ of anarchist and libertarian socialist thought, including Peter Kropotkin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin, while it’s also published works by British writers Herbert Spencer, William Morris and Colin Ward. Although it is not currently known who conducted the firebomb attack, it is more than likely to be of fascist origin:
the Bookshop was similarly attacked twenty years ago by the Neo-Nazi group Combat 18. In recent months the newspaper has had financial problems and could not afford to renew the insurance for the premises but the anarchist movement and wider left have rallied round with practical and financial help. At the February Branch Committee meeting, I proposed a motion expressing our support for Freedom and pledging to send them £100 towards recovery costs. The motion was passed unanimously. Salford members have done a little bit to keep this important institution alive, a little bit that means a lot… Richard Holland
TAMIL SOLIDARITY Since the so-called end of the war in 2009 evidence has been amassed to expose the Sri Lankan military’s genocidal slaughter of the Tamilspeaking people. But in the aftermath there is no peace, as democratic rights are being trampled underfoot. Journalists and any voice of dissent face repression. Access to Tamilspeaking areas is strictly controlled and freedom of assembly does not exist. The establishment of so-called ‘free-trade zones’ is also leading to the super-exploitation of labour, without trade union and other rights. Tamil Solidarity’s platform includes demands for an independent war crimes investigation, support
for independent trade unions and defence of the right to selfdetermination. In 2012, the National Delegate Conference of UNISON voted to affiliate to Tamil Solidarity, and to give maximum support to independent trade unions in Sri Lanka which is Tamil Solidarity’s key demand. Now Salford City UNISON has passed a resolution to affiliate to Tamil Solidarity to affirm our support for Tamil-speaking and all oppressed people in the struggle in Sri Lanka. For further details of Tamil Solidarity see www.TamilSolidarity. org
SALFORD BOOK CORNER As spring finally springs and thoughts turn to the beach, two top books by Salford authors have recently been published…
The Perfect Pair: The Enchanted Mirror by Swinton authors David C Holroyd and Tracy J Holroyd is an alldiving, all-splashing `factional’ fandango featuring super dolphins, Duchess and Herb’e, and their `psychic’ trainer David Lands. Caught between the glamour of presenting shows for excited kids, and the sad underbelly of aquatic circuses, David soon realises the cruelty of dolphin captivity and the tricks they are obliged to perform. The dolphins `curse’ is the permanent smile on their faces. This is Flippa’s revenge in an easy to read, page turning, blockbusting style that will make you stare out at the sea from your sun-lounger and wonder `Why?’
The Sound of Loneliness is a novel by former Langworthy lad Craig Wallwork, set in 1991 as Salford was being dragged through the last recession. Daniel, based in a flat on Salford Precinct, is convinced that to be a brilliant writer he has to suffer. He ends up skint, starving, lonely - and a rubbish writer. While the scenario sounds like Morrissey chewing up Leonard Cohen, the novel is full of dark humour and is incredibly well written. Anyone thinking of packing in their Council admin job or bin round to become a famous writer should read this book! The Sound of Loneliness (Perfect Edge Books) £9.99 (available via Amazon)
The Perfect Pair: The Enchanted Mirror (Matador) £7.99 (available via Amazon)
OPERATION SAVE THE NHS Earlier this month, in the middle of the public piazza at Media City, a `surgeon’, watched by `patients’ in dressing gowns and bandages, removed the heart from the NHS to symbolise what is happening to our health services, now that the ConDem Government’s Health and Social Care Act is in force. Holding up the blood dripping heart she proclaimed that the privatisation of the NHS had begun… “We are alarmed at the rapid rate of privatisation that is taking place” she exclaimed “In the Greater Manchester area, you will notice when you go to your GP that if you need a scan, if you need a hearing test or various other things, you will be sent to private companies.” This Media City protest was part of a campaign by various groups to try and salvage the NHS from destruction… “It’s the biggest reorganisation that the NHS has seen since it was created in 1948” said Karen Reissmann, a health worker and member of UNISON’s National Executive “Most crucially they are doing these things at a time of massive cuts to the NHS, £20billion over the lifetime of this Government.” For further details check out the following campaign groups… * Keep Our NHS Public www.keepournhspublic.com * Salford NHS Support Group www.salfordnhssupportgroup.org.uk * 38 Degrees www.38degrees.org.uk