Tag Archives: 18th Sept

Birmingham for the Alternative: The Lib Dem Conference Demo in Photos

Yesterday between 1,500 and 4,000 people gathered in Birmingham to demonstrate at the Liberal Democrat conference, and call for the alternative to the coalition’s economic policies. You can read a report from Right to Work about the march and rallies, we have collected together some photos of the day.

The Assembly


The Bands


The March


The TUC Rally


The Right to Work Rally

With thanks to our contributors:
Geoff Dexter – more photos: Assembly, March, TUC Rally, Right to Work Rally
Right to Work – more photos
Brian nott
Darkest Angel
Sarah Barton

Disabled People Against Cuts photoset



Filed under Events

NCAFC activists drop banner for day 1 of Lib Dem conference

Activists from the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts did a banner drop yesterday, on the bridge connecting the Hyatt hotel, where delegates are staying, to the ICC conference centre, over Broad street, during rush hour.

The banner, which read “Traitors Not Welcome, Hate Clegg, Love NCAFC“, reminds delegates of the pledge taken by every Liberal Democrat candidate before the last election to vote against a rise in tuition fees and press for a fairer alternative.

Despite this pledge many Lib Dem MPs voted for the tripling of university fees to a maximum of £9,000 – a figure which most universities have decided to charge.  Scottish activists also occupied a lecture theatre at Edinburgh University yesterday in protest at the universities decision to charge the full £9,000 – a decision which will see students pay £36,000 in fees for the standard Scottish 4-year degree.

Local Lib Dem MP John Hemming was one of the MPs to have broken the tuition fees pledge.  Following his decision to vote for the tuition fee rise, he decided that he had not in fact broken the pledge, by redefining the word “and” to mean “or”, claiming that because they are pushing for a fairer alternative, he had not broken a pledge to vote against the fee rise by voting for it.

NCAFC activists would argue, and we would agree, that the only fair alternative to tuition fees is free education, paid for by taxation.  Such a system would not place any disadvantage on students from poorer backgrounds who are likely to be put off by the amount of debt a degree will now attract – a debt that someone who earns an average wage all their working life will never pay back.

In addition to tuition fees, NCAFC attacked the coalitions record on education – the scrapping of EMA, reduction in university funding, budget cuts to the School Sports Programme, cuts in maintenance budgets and the increased push for academies and introduction of free schools.  Tom, an education worker and activist from Birmingham told us that

The Liberal Democrats have shown that they do not care about young people in the UK today.  They have taken part in a systematic attack on our education system, overseen cuts locally and nationally to youth services and Connexions, at a time when youth unemployment is rising and now stands at 20%

NCAFC have called for young people to join the march for the alternative tomorrow in Birmingham, assembling at 11am on Granville Street, off Broad Street and marching through the city centre to a TUC rally at Lionel Street, followed by a Right to Work rally at the CWU building.  There is a shorter route for disabled and elderly activists.

Birmingham Against the Cuts will have stalls at the assembly point, in Peace Garden off Bath Row Stall 10.30-12.00, at the TUC rally in Lionel St Car Park Stall 1.30-3.00 and the Right to Work Rally BATC stall 3.15-4.30.  All help is appreciated.


Filed under Events

Final push for the Lib Dem conference demonstration

Last years Tory conference march

On Sunday, we expect 10,000-30,000 people to turn out to call for the alternative to this governments ruinous economic policies and austerity agenda, at the TUC backed Birmingham for the Alternative March. With such bad economic news coming out this week, there is even more reason to put your feet on the streets on Sunday. Locally, the cuts are starting to bite, with nursery closures and the council workers back on strike on the 21st being the most visible – but we are also hearing of cuts to the parks service being implemented, as well of course as the closure of Connexions and other youth services.
We need to be big and loud on Sunday, saying NO to cuts, NO to austerity, NO to the privatisation of the NHS and education system; YES to policies for growth, jobs and justice. Join us. 11am, Granville Street, march through the city centre to a TUC rally at Lionel Street, with a Right to Work rally following that at the CWU building.
A shorter route for disabled people, and anyone else unable to walk the full route has been arranged by DPAC

We have been building this march, along with Right To Work and a host of local anti-cuts groups around the West Midlands for the past few months, and now is the final moment to make sure as many people as possible come along.
We will be leafleting tomorrow at the Chainmakers Festival, and Kings Heath and Moseley Against the Cuts are running a stall from 12-2 outside Asda in Kings Heath.
If you’re reading this on Friday Morning, there’s still time to get down to our leafleting session from 4:30pm – 6pm, meeting at the Palisades Ramp in the city centre.

If you’re on Facebook, invite your friends to this event, or link them up on Twitter.. or perhaps give people a call or pop round to see them.

For those of you who are on Twitter, we’re going to use the hashtag #BrumDemo on Sunday – try to avoid using it before Sunday to give it the best chance of trending on the day. You can also use the tag #Sept18, and my guess for the conference tag is #LibDem11, though no-one seems to be using it yet – if you spot the tag being used, let us know.

Anyone out on Sunday taking photos, I will want to compile at least one “Lib Dem Conference Demo in pictures” post, like I’ve done for demonstrations in the past. Please send photos, or links to flickr/photobucket etc, to BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com. Let me know if you want a credit/copyright watermarked on your photos and/or where you’d like it linked to.

See you on Sunday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Events

Report from Build the Alternative, Broaden the Struggle public meeting

Last night we held a meeting to build towards the Liberal Democrat conference demonstration on the 18th September.  A full room heard speakers talking about the anti-cuts and anti-austerity struggle that we are engaged in, around 150 attended the meeting – more than at previous ones.

Mary Pearson chaired the meeting, and cheekily used her position at the start of the meeting to say how she had traveled through Aston, and was sad to see the closed connexions office there, now being advertised for rent.  She then introduced the first speaker, the general secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow

Anyone who has heard Bob speak know that he talks from the heart and doesn’t take any prisoners, and he was on his usual form tonight.  Talking about growing up, he said he thought public services were just there:

I never realised it took an entire 70-80 years of struggle to create the welfare state until they started to dismantle it

In a theme that was also picked up by other speakers, Bob talked about soldiers returning from World War 1 and 2, demanding better conditions.  He said that after WW2, soldiers came back were no longer afraid of the bosses – they’d defeated Hitler, and could demand better conditions.  They demanded the welfare state, and they got it.  However, now they are trying to take it all away.

He talked about how if there is not enough work around, that it is wrong to be telling people to work for longer – any job being done by a 67, 68 year old is one that could be done by an 18,19 year old.  He argued that we should spread out the work, by reducing the working week without loss of pay, increasing holidays and staggering retirement (so that at say 62 you’d work 4 days a week, at 64, 2 days).

Having spoken about what is going on, he then talked about what we can do for it.  Speaking of the trade union movement he said:

If the trade union movement is dead there was a whole lot of lively corpses on the streets on March 26th

Bob said that we need a nationwide battle, that it is our duty to mobilise every group to support workers in struggle.  He said that PCS have announced they will strike over pensions in November, and called for union members to take industrial action alongside PCS, or if they couldn’t take industrial action, to support picket lines by visiting them or donating money to strike funds.

The next speaker was Mike Beal (and I hope I’ve spelt his name right!) who works for Oxford Youth Services.  He told us of the destruction of the youth services in Oxfordshire:

As of 1st September there will be no youth service in Oxford

Youth workers are being moved to a new service which will be targeted intervention, and not able to provide the same generally available services as are currently in place.

They then talked about how they balloted for industrial action and got a 93% vote in favour of it.  This ballot happened a few days before the riots, and suddenly there was a lot of media attention on them, because these services cover David Cameron’s constituency.  They said that when the media were talking to Cameron about the riots, he ignored the closure of youth services in his own constituency.

Having heard from a couple of national speakers from the platform, we turned our attention to local speakers.
Becca Kirkpatrick, who works in the Blood service was next to speak, about the NHS reform bill that has just passed in the commons, and how the fight has been demoralising, but that she had some good news.  Unison branches around the city have got together and will be calling a huge meeting of its members and the public to talk about the health bill and how it will affect people, and to learn what people’s main concerns are so they can campaign on it.  She said that they were looking at holding this in a football stadium, which is how big a meeting they think they can get together.

Following Becca, Graeme Horn from Birmingham Unison spoke about their dispute with the council over changes to pay and conditions. Graeme announced that Unison will strike on the 21st September, the last day of the Liberal Democrat conference. We have posted here about changes to the contract, and at the meeting Graeme gave three examples of pay cuts. Mrs S, currently on around £14,000/year will lost £1,780 (12%); Mrs B, on 19k, will lose £3,662.40 – as Graeme said, do you know anyone who can take a three thousand pound pay cut? His final example was someone who will lose 30% of their pay – taking a whopping £4,453.35 pay cut from a £14,621.59 salary.
In addition to pay cuts, council workers will also face changes to conditions. The new contract means that they will have to work anywhere in the city, doing any job on their pay grade, and working any hours. This means someone who took a job working weekdays in their local area could be told to work evenings and weekends on the other side of the city.
Graeme said this is a moral outrage, and called on everyone to support their council workers. He said that workers are not taking this action lightly, that many cannot really afford to lose the days pay for a strike – but that the prospect of this new contract is far worse.
Please show your support for our council workers when they strike. Hopefully Unison will be joined by GMB, Unite and UCATT members who are being balloted at the moment for industrial action.

The meeting took a break from platform speakers to take speakers from the floor. I missed some of their names.. if you recognise yourself here, please comment and I’ll add your name in.
The first speaker talked about the disgraceful state of social housing in this country, and a BBC news report from earlier that day which had shown shacks in the back gardens of housing in Newham.
The second speaker called for nationalisation, saying that there is plenty of wealth but we need to take control of it. This is a vast oversimplification of what this speaker was arguing, but I only managed to write that bit down!
Matt, a university worker, reminded us of the Lib Dem broken pledge on tuition fees, and called for everyone to join the demonstration at their conference in Birmingham on the 18th, and also to go to the Tory party conference demonstration on 2nd October in Manchester.
Stuart then spoke about how the government is able to find the money to pay for war, and mentioned the disgraceful actions of the British army in Iraq, concerning Baha Moussa
Next up was a worker from Sparkhill job centre, who said he had been pleased to hear on the radio that he would be on strike in November (PCS union).
The next person said that we should not mix our words, that we are in a class war, and we have to fight on our terms not their terms. I think he talked about how soldiers returning from World War 2 to find their families homeless squatted buildings in Mayfair, and that this caused the police a problem, as the soldiers still had their guns! (This may have been someone else – I remember the story being told, but for some reason didn’t write it down).
Liz said it is not enough to fight against cuts, we must also fight for a better society – we should not be begging for a crumb, we should demand full employment.

Following this group of speakers from the floor there were more local speakers. Charlie Friel a Unison shop steward at Connexions talked about their fight to keep a careers service for young people in Birmingham. Picking up on Mary Pearson’s reference to the Aston office, he said that the Erdington office is now a loan shark moneylending shop.
He told us that the first office to close was in Handsworth, an area with 10% unemployment, and that Erdington has one of the highest level of unemployment of any ward in the UK. Youth unemployment is 1 in 5, so they are closing services that help young people to find work.
Additionally, schools will now have to pay for careers advice services out of their own (shrinking) budget.

The attacks on Connexions are just part of a war on young people. The closure of youth services, scrapping EMA and replacing it with a smaller discretionary fund, reducing FE and HE places and increasing tuition fees

He mentioned that Connexions workers, who have staved off compulsory redundancy through strike action, are also facing the contract changes talked about by Graeme Horn, and will be on strike on the 21st September. He called for a general strike to “bring these bastards down” (and was reprimanded by our Chair, Mary, for swearing. She also revealed that Charlie swears on facebook! disgraceful ;))

Sarah Barton from the Bournville Academy Campaign followed on from Charlie, talking about their fight to stop Bournville school becoming an academy. She said that the school will become an academy on January 1st, despite a lack of consultation on the decision. The school is claiming that no decision has been made, by they have applied and been accepted for academy status. The school have said it is a choice between becoming an academy and the unknown. Sarah hopes for action from the staff who are opposed to academy status, and thanked both Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts and the Alliance Against Birmingham Academies for their support. If you are a parent at the school, you can get involved with this campaign by joining them on Digital Democracy, or on twitter (@HOBVS), or by joining their facebook group. If all these fail, do not hesitate to contact us and we’ll put you in touch.

There then followed an interlude for our treasurer, Pete, to make an appeal for funds. Birmingham Against the Cuts is funded entirely by donations, and this meeting cost over £300 to put on. If you can donate money to us, to help us to produce leaflets, run demonstrations and meetings and generally campaign, it would be greatly appreciated. You can make a one off donation by direct bank transfer, paypal or cheque or even better would be to set up a standing order for just a couple of pounds each month. Please see our donate page for full details on how to do this.

After this appeal, we returned to the platform for more national issue speakers.
Sam Brackenberry from DPAC spoke about the challenges disabled people are facing. He spoke passionately and from the heart about the situation that he and others find themselves in. He began by mentioning how the chair of ATOS – an IT consultancy company that is employed by the government to carry out “work capability assessments” (WCAs) to see if those claiming disabled benefits can work – is now on the board of the Paralympics. This appointment has incensed disability rights campaigners because of the disgraceful way in which ATOS handle WCAs. Sam told us of 5 people who had committed suicide because of the pressure and stress caused by the re-assessment process, and how many people found their benefits cut off or reduced because of a decision that would be overturned on appeal. As we have previously reported, 40% of people who appeal their decision have the decision overturned – a figure that rises to 70% if they have representation.
ATOS are paid around £100m each year to carry out WCAs. The appeals cost an additional £30m-£40m.
Sam spoke of the attack on disabled people:

All I want is a roof over my head and food in my belly but they don’t want disabled people in our community … they are decimating everything. It’s not about whether I win or lose, it’s about whether I live or die

Sam said that if his benefits get taken away, he will lose his carer and that would mean that he might as well be on the street again. Sam is in a wheelchair and has poor circulation that means that he must “put his feet up” a few times a day or his feet will bleed. He said that he would love to have a job, but that it is difficult to find an employer who is able to give him work that fits with the needs of his disability.
There is a national day of action for disability benefit claimants against ATOS on September 30th. If you would like to get involved with a demonstration in Birmingham, please contact us and we will put you in touch with activists, as Sam said:

If you don’t like these bastards, get up and do something … because by the time they are done you won’t have anything

Godfrey Webster then spoke briefly about the international and European situation, and called for people to attend the Coalition of Resistance European conference on the 1st October, before going to the Tory conference demo on the 2nd.

Our final platform speakers were Julie Sherry from Right to Work (she replaced Paul Brandon, who is ill) and Jody McIntyre
Julie spoke widely about the austerity measures, saying that the government is ideologically driven and using the recession as an opportunity to dismantle the welfare system. Speaking of the scrapping of EMA, cuts to youth services of all kinds and the hike in tuition fees, Julie said

what future is there for people of my generation and younger?

She called for everyone to fight back, and said that there were 3 things that had given her hope – the students at the end of 2010, fighting back against attacks on education, and showing that there is a huge level of politicisation amongst young people. Secondly the half million people marching for the alternative at the TUC demonstration in March – the largest ever mobilisation by trade unions. Thirdly was the mass strike on 30th June.
Julie called for an all out mobilisation for the Liberal Democrat and Tory conference marches and for strike action in November.

Jody McIntyre was our final speaker. He said he had been asked here to talk about the fightback against austerity, but that he wanted to raise the international situation as part of that, because our international policies form part of the same mindset that have brought about austerity measures, and that anti-imperialism and anti-austerity are fundamentally linked.
Jody said that we should fight back

because we refuse to accept the necessity of punishing the most vulnerable sections of society for a problem caused by the most elite sections of society

His speech linked our fight against cuts, and for a better deal for working class people in this country, to the fight against imperialism and for a better deal for people all over the world. He said our state is “driven on the plundering of resources from across the world” and that this is a mindset which needs to be challenged.

As Mary wrapped up the meeting, a blogger (@PoliticsInBrum on twitter) asked to speak, in order to bring to the attention of the meeting a conference which is being held to help organisations to maximise their profits from public sector work. This conference is open to both public and private sector organisations.

Mary finished off by thoroughly embarrassing me, thanking me for my work on the website, and I shall return the favour by thanking her for chairing this meeting fantastically, and with grace and humour.

All in all I thought this was an excellent meeting, with many speakers talking about local and national issues. My thought is that the format of this meeting – with a small number of national speakers on the platform, a selection of local speakers and a couple of slots giving sufficient time for other speakers from the floor, was a much better format that previous meetings where a slate of speakers have talked, leaving whatever time is available for people to be called from the floor.
Please do comment here with your thoughts about the meeting, and its format, and also if you wanted to speak from the floor but didn’t.

I should also say that Jack Dromey MP sent his apologies for being unable to attend the meeting as planned.
All photos from the meeting in the post are (c) Geoff Dexter-Sherbourne publications, with thanks to Geoff as always.

Now we must focus on the demonstration on the 18th September. We have leafleting sessions every morning from 7:45 am and afternoon from 4:30pm next week. These will be held in the city centre, meet at the Palisades ramp. We will also be holding stalls in the city centre, at football matches, ArtsFest and Chainmakers over the coming weekends. Please contact us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com if you can help with these activities to get full location/time details, or just turn up to the weekday leafleting sessions


Filed under Events

Merrishaw Day Nursery Closes

UPDATE: Merrishaw Nursery is to re-open, following continued pressure on the Council. Parents and staff have been told it will re-open in April 2012. This is a great success for the campaign, and shows that sometimes even when something seems over, it really isn’t. We will of course cover the re-opening when it happens.

Despite a campaign by parents and Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts, Merrishaw Day Nursery has closed, along with 7 other nurseries around Birmingham.

Workmen board up Merrishaw Day Nursery

A last minute push to save the nursery from closure did not succeed, with parents and supporters gathering at the Nursery for what looks to be the final open day. Although all three councillors had been invited, only Cllr Reg Corns turned up to hear parents concerns. You can hear what he had to say on the B31 Blog post.Cllr Ian Cruise, Labour councillor for neighbouring Longbridge ward took the photo of Merrishaw being boarded up and said this on Twitter:

A sad day as workmen board up Merrishaw Community Day Nursery in West Heath. A relic of the cuts

Marrishaw achieved the highest grade possible (Outstanding) in it’s last Ofsted inspection. It has served the community for 26 years, and done so very well. Now parents are being moved to private nurseries, some of which are up to two miles away in Stirchley, as nursery provision is oversubscribed locally.
Quite what logic is used to decide to close a high performing nursery, in an area which does not have overcapacity is hard to discern.

Our hope for the nursery, and for the parents, is that Labour take control of the council next year and reopen the nurseries that have closed around the city, restoring excellent state provided provision, and ensuring that the youngest residents of our city have access to the best facilities in a nearby location.

With more time, this service could have been saved, but in June, parents were told it would stay open – only to find out a week later that it would close. Since then they have been working tirelessly to try to keep it open.
If we are to stop these cuts, we must continue to resist them at the local level as well as the national level.
Have a look at our Local Groups page to see if there is a group in your area, and if there is not, then we can help you to create one, by putting you in contact with activists in your area and supporting events that you run.

Regionally, we are holding a meeting, called jointly with Right to Work, on the 8th September at 7pm, at the Birmingham Midland Institute. Build the alternative, Broaden the Struggle. Speakers: Jack Dromey MP, Bob Crow, Jody McIntyre and more talking about the cuts, resistance and alternatives. Please attend our facebook event and invite your friends.
Nationally the party conference season is almost upon us, with the Liberal Democrats holding their conference here in Birmingham, and a demonstration on Sunday 18th September, whilst the Conservatives are in Manchester and the demonstration there is on Sat 2nd October.

Join with us to fight these cuts, and prevent more services like Merrishaw Day Nursery closing.


Filed under Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Birmingham for the Alternative: March Against the Lib Dems

Assemble 11am, Granville Street, B1

The Liberal Democrat conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham from the 17th – 21st September, and the TUC, along with Right to Work, DPAC and all the anti-cuts groups in the West Midlands have come together to create a march, assembling at Granville Street, just off Broad Street, and marching down Broad Street, around the Ring of Steel, into the city centre, up Corporation Street to a rally at Lionel Street car park.
The TUC rally will have Billy Hayes (CWU), Mark Serwotka (PCS), Paul Kenny (GMB) and Christine Blower (NUT) speaking.
Follwoing this rally, Right To Work have a rally starting at 3:30pm at the CWU offices, just around the corner from Lionel Street. Speakers there are John McDonnell MP, Mark Serwotka (PCS), Billy Hayes (CWU), Estelle Cooch (Right to Work), Linda Burnip (DPAC), Maxie Hayles (BARAC) and is charied by Lee Barron (CWU Regional secretary)

The police have imposed the same ring of steel as was used at the tory party conference last year. Sign this statement calling for it to be removed. In Manchester, the Tory party conference march – which is likely to be bigger than the march in Birmingham – is being allowed to pass directly in front of the conference, but West Midlands police have decided in their infinite wisdom to keep us away. Please sign the statement in that link to call for us to be allowed to march past the ICC.

Tory conference march, Birmingham 2010

In October last year, 7,000 people marched through the rain in Birmingham when the Tories held their conference here – we can make this march much, much bigger, with the support of the TUC and a year into the coaltion government, we should be getting tens of thousands of people out to call for an alternative to the austerity policies of this government.

Over the past year we have seen our economy falter, with growth flatlining in the 9 months since the first budget review of this Government. We need to abandon austerity policies, and instead develop policies for growth – stimulate the economy by investing in sectors which either need support or which investment would help achieve other policy aims as well. Without growth we will not see the deficit being reduced.

Cuts will not help our economy, or solve our deficit problem. What they will do, and are doing, is cause hardship to average and low income people of this country. The wealthiest are not hurt by these cuts, and are seeing their wealth continue to grow. The bankers continue to receive bonuses for doing exactly the same kinds of things that caused the financial crisis in the first place – and since no reforms have happened to the banking sector, they continue to pose a risk to us.

Connexions workers on strike on 30th June

In Birmingham, the council cuts are already seeing youth services, Connexions, museums and charitable organisations losing funding and closing. Council workers face pay cuts and changes to their conditions. Adults with “substantial” care needs may lose their support. Refuse workers who cleaned up the city after the riots striking over £4,000/year pay cuts.
Across the country this picture is being repeated at every council. Nationally we have seen strikes from public sector workers whose pensions are being attacked to pay for the deficit. There will be cuts to Legal Aid, police and almost every government funded service you can think of. The NHS, which was promised would not be cut, is instead having to find 4% “efficiency savings” every year. Schools are not having their teaching budgets cut, but face the loss of outside services such as the School Sports Programme, and other funding like the schools maintenance budget, as well as the scrapping of EMA which will reduce pupil numbers and in doing so reduce funding to schools and FE colleges.

The Liberal Democrats are not an unwilling partner in this coalition. They are fully committed to the austerity agenda, as we saw when they broke their pledge to vote against tuition fees back in December, or when they failed to impose any kind of reform on the banks, let alone a version of the Glass-Steagall Act.

Join with us on September 18th in Birmingham to call for an alternative to this government and the austerity policies they are imposing on us. To find out more about the alternatives, look at False Economy or our posts on alternatives to the cuts.
Right to Work are running coaches from around the UK.

If you fancy making a weekend of it, the Chainmakers Festival, celebrating the victory of the Women Chainmakers who went on strike in 1910 to get equal wages to men, is being held in Cradley Heath on Sat September 17th.

On September 8th, Birmingham Against the Cuts and Right to Work are holding a public meeting – Build the Alternative, Broaden the Struggle, with Jack Dromey MP, Bob Crow, Jody McIntyre and Paul Brandon speaking, chaired by Caroline Johnson.
We will also be holding many leafletting sessions, so keep an eye on our upcoming events page or our facebook page for details of those events, or email us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or comment on this article to let us know if you would like to help and when and where you might be avaialable.

Some of the organisations supporting the demonstration on the 18th September


Filed under Events

Build the Alternative, Broaden the Struggle – Public Meeting

Thursday 8th September, 7pm, at the Birmingham and Midlands Institute. Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS

Birmingham Against the Cuts and Right to Work are pleased to announce the details of our next public meeting, to be held in the run up to the Liberal Democrat conference demonstration on Sunday 18th September.

We have a great lineup of speakers already, with more to confirm. If you’re on facebook, attend our event and invite your friends

Jack Dromey MP
Bob Crow, General Secretary RMT union
Jody McIntrye, journalist and political activist
Paul Brandon, Right to Work
Eleanor Lisney, Disabled People Against Cuts
more speakers to be confirmed.

Chair: Caroline Johnson, Birmingham Unison / Birmingham Against the Cuts

Jack Dromey is the Labour MP for Erdington. He has been outspoken against the cuts, and has supported many events locally, including the Justice for All march, and gave an excellent speech at our public meeting on May 26th.

Bob Crow is the outspoken leader of the RMT union, who regularly take industrial action over health and safety issues, wrongful dismissals or in defence of their pay and conditions. Bob is a union leader who is not afraid to ballot his members for strike when it is needed, and is well respected by them in return. It will be great to have him talk here, in the light of potential upcoming strike action by public sector workers in the Autumn

Jody McIntyre is a journalist and political activist who was pulled out of his wheelchair by police during the student demonstration on the 9th December. Ever passionate and always interesting, it will be a pleasure to welcome Jody to our city.

Paul Brandon is the chair of the Right to Work coalition, who have called this meeting jointly with Birmingham Against the Cuts. Right to Work were instrumental in calling a demonstration at the Liberal Democrat conference, which was quickly backed by all the local anti-cuts groups working in the West Midlands and by the Regional TUC, before being adopted by national TUC.

Chaired by Caroline Johnson, Chair of Birmingham Against the Cuts and joint branch-secretary of Birmingham Unison, whose council workers were on strike on the 30th June and are likely to take more strike action in defence of pay and conditions during the Autumn.

We would like to welcome everyone to come and listen to these speakers, and will ensure that there is no confusion over timings and that there is plenty of time for us to take contributions from the floor as we build towards the Liberal Democrat conference demonstration in Birmingham, and other national demonstrations around the UK – at the Tory Party conference in Manchester, on October 2nd; in Coventry on October 22nd for the regional demonstration of the YFJ Jarrow March recreation, and in London on November 5th for their national demonstration and the 9th for NCAFC demonstration against the privatisation of education.

The watchword for us over the next month is leafletting – to build this meeting and the Liberal Democrat conference demonstration. If you are available to help, or know of an event, high street or workplace that should be leafletted, especially if you’d be willing to co-ordinate it, please email us. BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com
We are looking at leafletting on weekday evenings and mornings as well as weekends, all around the city at train stations, football grounds, local high streets or other areas, as well as the city centre so let us know when you would be available and what area(s) you could get to.
We will have printed leaflets for this event available from Friday, and should be leafletting in the city centre on Saturday.
Please keep an eye on this website for details later this week.

Around all of this there will be more local and regional events happening, with the vote on the health reform bill the day before this meeting, keep up to date with events with Save our NHS West Midlands.

You can download an A4 double sided version of the flyer here to email to other people. A5 flyers will be available from the weekend so let us know if you want some to deliver.


Filed under Events

Window poster for the Lib Dem conference

We’ve made an A4 window poster you can download and print to stick up in your window, workplace or anywhere else you feel is appropriate.

You can download it from our resources page

This poster will be updated when we know the march route and assembly point, but as Right to Work have reported, the police and home office have banned us from going past the ICC and the initial proposals for routes have been rejected.
In the meantime we want to be building the demo and creating a visible presence in the city. With the TUC officially backing the march, there will be people coming from all over the UK and we need to make sure there is a huge Birmingham presence on the march.

The march is on Sunday 18th September, and will assemble near and march through Birmingham City Centre, to a rally where John McDonnell MP and Mark Serwotka are confirmed as speakers.

You can help us in a number of different ways, but right now, print off this poster and stick it in your front room.

On Saturday, there is a planning meeting for the event from 11am at the Unison Offices, 19th Floor, McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7NN, which you are welcome to come to if you want to help plan the demo.
There are also street stalls and leafletting from 1pm to 3pm in Birmingham City Centre. Come to the Waterstones near the Bull Ring, on the corner of High Street and New Street. Many groups and trade unions from around the West Midlands will be doing street stalls that day, creating a corridor of resistance down High Street and all working to promote the Lib Dem conference – we need your help that day, so come along.

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Mark Serwotka speaking at Lib Dem conference demo

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS, has confirmed to speak at the rally following the Liberal Democrat conference demonstration on Sunday 18th September.

Mark has been one of the best received speakers over the past 6 months, and it will be great to have him here in Birmingham on the platform of this demonstration.

PCS have been active locally in fighting cuts, and were one of the unions on strike on the 30th June, defending public sector pensions and services, and we are sure they will be well represented on 18th September. You can read about their proposed alternatives to the cuts here

Mark Serwotka speaking at the March for the Alternative on March 26th.

The next planning meeting for the Lib Dem conference is on Saturday 6th August, 11am, at Unison Offices, 19th Floor, McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7NN. This will be followed by street stalls & leafletting from many of the groups involved in building this demonstration.

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National TUC back party conference marches

The TUC have backed the marches at the Liberal Democrat conference, in Birmingham on 18th September, and the Tory party conference in Manchester on 2nd October.
They will be promoting them under the banners of March for the Alternative 2 & 3.

With the support not just of regional TUC, but also nationally, this should make these marches even bigger than expected. The TUC mobilised nationally for March 26th and got 500,000 people on the streets of London. These events will give a chance for people who were unable to travel down to London the opportunity to demonstrate against the coalition in areas closer to them. We also hope that many people will travel from around the country to each of these demonstrations.

Right to Work are organising coaches, and we are sure that unions will get on board now and run coaches from their areas, and we will be running coaches up to Manchester along with local unions.

The demonstration in Birmingham is building nicely, and there are many events and meetings coming up to ensure that this is as big as possible. Many more things will be added to this, including leafletting campaigns so keep an eye on our upcoming events page.

6th August: 11:00-12:30, planning meeting – Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7nn – everyone welcome to attned
1pm – 3pm, Stalls & leafletting in Birmingham City Centre – many campaign groups and unions will have stalls along New Street/High Street – Facebook event, please let us know if you can help.

15th August – 6:30pm, planning meeting at the CWU building (sorry, I still need to get the address!), Birmingham. All welcome to attend.

8th September – provisional date for a public meeting to build for the demonstration

10th/11th September – Stalls & Leafletting at Arts Fest

12th-16th September – Leafletting at train stations/bus stops – details to be arranged

17th SeptemberChainmakers Festival (not related but hopefully will serve as a timely reminder of what unions can achieve when they put their minds to it)

18th September – the demonstration! Assembling at 12noon, final assembly point / march route and rally point to be decided.

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