Activists from Handsworth Against The Cuts (HATC) lobbied MP Khalid Mahmood’s constituency surgery about the the council’s attempt to privatise the leisure centres. Concern was expressed by the MP’s
representatives and also a willingness to have attend/ hold a public meeting. We were also told that the councillors in the ward were against the privatisation. Other HATC activists had attended a Handsworth community conference and had raised the issue there that morning as well, so the pressure is being applied.
On the same day a stall was done at the Leisure Centre, we now have 489 signatures opposing privatisation, not including the petitions that people have taken away to get friends, neighbours and family to sign. There is a great depth of feeling on the subject…
Saturday 10th March is a day of action on Leisure Centre privatisation with stalls being held around Birmingham – see here for details
The petition calling for restored opening hours at Handsworth Library will be handed in by Councillor Waseem Zaffar at the Council meeting on Tuesday 6th December. Initiated by Handsworth Against the Cuts, the petition has gathered a magnificent 860 signatures thanks to the many residents and community activists who got involved. At a meeting on Saturday 26th November, residents pointed out that the library is used by people of all ages and backgrounds – by those who need to use the computers, by schoolchildren doing projects, and by elders of the community who enjoy the safe and sociable atmosphere.
Recent reports have revealed that cuts are happening to library services across the city – and these were never subject to consultation. Handsworth Against the Cuts will continue to push for proper opening hours for our own library, but not at the expense of others. We need to campaign to keep both our central and community libraries open for business.
Tomorrow is set to be a historic day, with one of the largest strikes in the history of the UK, as millions of public sector workers strike to defend their pensions, rejecting an offer by the government which would see them pay more, work longer and get less in order to pay off the deficit.
Almost every public sector union is taking part in this co-ordinated action, and there are plenty of things happening in Birmingham. This strike is not just about pensions, it is also about cuts, and defending the whole idea of a public sector providing services on the basis of need.
From 4am there will be pickets at refuse collection depots around the city, with other workplace pickets running from 7am. Some confirmations of pickets have been received, and are listed here, but you should expect them at almost every council and government workplace.
Parents should have heard from schools as to whether they will close, but with almost every teaching union, including the NAHT head teachers union, on strike we expect to see all schools closed.
At 9am the first local demo, organised by Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, gathers in Cotteridge. It will proceed to join the Selly Oak rally, and then the main TUC demo.
10am sees 4 local rallies around Birmingham:
Selly Oak – at the University South Gates, by the New Bristol Road (the newly opened bypass)
Handsworth – By Handsworth Library, Soho Road
Erdington – Six Ways
East Birmingham Heartlands Hospital
These rallies will feed to the main TUC march which assembles from 11:30am at Lionel Street Car Park, and should proceed through the city centre. We have had uncomfirmed reports that Birmingham City Council want to charge us £10,000 to walk through our city! We hope that the TUC do not bow to pressure and pay up, and that we march through the city in defiance of this blatant attempt to prevent us expressing our democratic rights.
The march proceeds to a rally at the NIA which beings at 1:30pm – doors to the NIA open at 12:30pm. The rally has many speakers from the union movement:
CHAIR: Lee Barron, CWU Midlands Regional Secretary & Midlands TUC Chair
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary
Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary
Janice Godrich, PCS President
Karen Jennings, Unison Assistant General Secretary
Martin Johnson, ATL Deputy General Secretary
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary
Barry Lovejoy, UCU Head of Further Education
Joe Morgan, GMB West Midlands Regional Secretary
Tony Woodley, UNITE Executive Officer
Tomorrow is set up to be a great day – all it needs now is you!
Remember that you can sign up to a union on the day and still strike, so at work today, or on the picket lines tomorrow, make sure anyone who isn’t unionised knows this, joins up and comes out tomorrow.
John Dolan, the former head of Birmingham Libraries, attacked the council’s library cuts programme in a open letter published in the Birmingham Post.
The Birmingham Post sets out cuts planned for Birmingham Libraries.This comes out one day before the last Council public consultation meeting on its budget plans. There was no mention of libraries in list of cuts up for public consultation. In all the public papers the words ‘library’ or ‘libraries’ are not used anywhere.
This is actually about dismantling the service through the back door while pretending to fix the front door. Birmingham has already dismissed most of the senior and middle management.
You should read the whole letter – it was also published on Voices for the Library
It comprises a comprehensive analysis of the way in which Birmingham City Council is seeking to dismantle an important service for the community. Handsworth Library will not open on Fridays, and many other libraries are also restricting their opening hours – We have been told the Central Library will now close at 6pm each day, making it difficult for anyone who works to use the service.
Aside from lending books, audio books and often music and films, libraries also offer internet access, often in communities that have low access rates. For someone who is unemployed, having access to the internet is vital to help find work or training opportunities.
Handsworth Against the Cuts is already campaigning about library cuts in that area, so if you want to be involved with that, get in touch with them. If your local library is facing cuts and you want to fight that and the library cuts in general, let us know, or come to our next open planning meeting on Monday 12th December. (let us know you are coming so it gets on the agenda).
Saturday 5th November 11am-1pm outside the library, Soho Road.
Help us gather signatures for our petition against library cutbacks.
We will also be leafleting for the BAtC Public Meeting on November 24th and in support of the planned strikes over pensions.
NB if you live in Handsworth Wood, Handsworth, Lozells or Winson Green please sign our petition and better still get others to do so. There is a copy here. Signed petitions need to be returned to the address shown by the weekend of December 3rd so they can be presented to the full council on December 6th.
For contact details and past posts from Handsworth Against the Cuts, see their page by clicking here
Those of you that use our local libraries will have noticed that we are are already suffering cuts in service here in Handsworth. We have already seen the loss of the library service that was based at Hawthorne House. Then earlier this year, we lost another day’s opening at Handsworth library on the Soho Road. Now users are experiencing further closures for example early closure or lunch-time closure. The reason given is staff shortages.
We know how hard our library staff work and that the cuts in library provision and job losses has made life even more difficult for them. We want to show support for our library service and ask the council to ensure that a full service can be maintained for local residents by stopping and reversing the cuts. Attached is a petition which we are launching on Saturday. We will be outside the library on the Soho Road from 11.00 – 1.00, Saturday 15th October. Please come and help us and pick up copies to take to friends and neighbours, or download and print the petition yourself, Our aim is to give the petition to local councilors.
We will discuss this at our next meeting on Thursday 27th October, 6.30pm Shaeed Udham Singh Centre (back room) 346 Soho Road. The main item will be a discussion of Birmingham’s youth unemployment led by Rick Hatcher who has recently written a pamphlet on this topic. We will also discuss how to build support for the November 30th pensions day of action
Sue Thomas, for Handsworth Against the Cuts
Handsworth Against the Cuts are holding a Public Meeting, this Wednesday 6th July 7.30 at St Andrews Community Hall, corner of College Road and Church Lane (opposite the Co-op).
“No to Cuts in Handsworth”
Led off by local speakers:
Pete Christie from Unison,
Alliya Stennett from City College,
Sian Ruddock from PCS and
Rick Hatcher from the Anti-Academies campaign.
Most of the time will be for discussion, questions and ideas for campaigning.
Local stalls and leafleting Saturday 19th February
Bearwood outside Aldi 12.00 -2.00 contact Tony 07845969959
Erdington outside Coop 11.00-1.00 contact Pete 07809406973
Handsworth Clock Tower 12.00-2.00 contact Sue 07818068856
King’s Heath outside Asda 11.00-1.00 contact Bridget 07969415398
Sparkhill outside Sparkhill Centre Contact Mary 07970174167
Stichley outside Coop 11.00-1.00 Contact Nick 07828 013091
Sutton 12.00 contact Stuart 07736923865