Monday, 28 November 2011


Cumbria CPS union joins the anticuts campaign
Furness Against the Cuts campaigners note that the membership of major public service unions has voted for strike action in protest against the government's unwillingness to negotiate with any degree of seriousness the issue of pensions in the public sector.

The photograph opposite shows a member of Unison and the secretary of Cumbria PCS campaigning in Dalton Road, Barrow, at the FAC stall on Saturday 19th November.

The main shopping area was very busy and all FAC campaigners reported a good public response to the campaign with more than usual prepared to enter into conversation.  It is to be hoped that such engagement is not just a one-off.
Promoting the strike, Barrow market, Sat 26 Nov 2011

The weather on Saturday 26th was cold with blustery wind and the threat of rain so it was decided the campaign would move to the outdoor market near the Portland Walk entrance to the indoor market.

The weather seemed to have deterred many from shopping that day - either that, or they were staying at home to save some money to pay their inflated winter fuel bills and other rises in their cost of day-to-day living.

Again, it was noted that members of the public were quite willing to discuss the government's austerity measures and most were in favour of the strike action by the unions.

The photograph features a Unison retired member who is also Secretary of Barrow and Furness Pensioners' Association.  Margie has spent many years serving local pensioners and has given rock steady support to the campaign against the cuts for the past eighteen months.

The Unison rally was announced in an article in the Evening Mail last week and, naturally, got the details wrong.  This meant that Alex Proffitt, local Unison convenor, had to send out urgent emails correcting the mistake.  The rally will commence at 12.30pm and continue until 1.30pm (not 1.00pm as stated in the paper)

Furness Against the Cuts campaigners will join the PCS union's picket of the Department of Works and Pensions offices at 7am on Wednesday 30th, move to picket the Job Centre at 9am then meet on the town hall car park to set up the FAC stall in the town hall square for 11am.  This will provide an hour and a half for campaigning before the start of the official rally.

The recent meeting of Barrow NUT indicated members had little, if any, enthusiasm for taking part in a public campaign on the 30th November.  However, some Furness NUT members hoped to attend and someone would bring some flags and placards to the event. Barrow NUT is to consider a proposal that it appoint an official delegate to Barrow Trades Union Council at its AGM to be held in January or maybe February next year.

So, will the showing of solidarity on 30th November embolden working people in both the public and private sectors to take further and more protracted action in the near future?  To quote the words of a well-known song, "The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind."  This is either the first gust of a 'wind of change' storm or a noisy parp.  Only time will tell.

The next meeting of the Steering Group will be held at the Children's Centre, Greengate Street, at 6.30 until 7.30pm on Wednesday 7th December.


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