Workers from a number of trade unions in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, are uniting to fight for jobs, public services and union rights.
Doncaster UCU union, Doncaster Trades Council and Unison union are backing a march and rally in the town on Saturday. The action comes at a time when several groups of workers are facing attack.
Some 119 jobs are under threat at Doncaster College. The planned job cuts would reduce even further the opportunities available for young people in the town. Doncaster already has a higher than average rate of youth unemployment.
Workers organised a fantastic campaign that beat back planned cuts last year and can do so again.
Lecturers in the UCU at the college struck on Tuesday of last week in a separate ongoing dispute over the failure of college management to implement a national pay deal agreed in 2004.
Saturday’s protest will also be a show of support for Jim Board, the Unison branch secretary who was suspended after speaking to the media about two local children who attacked two other children.
Jim has since been reinstated – but is now facing a disciplinary process (see below). Unions are demanding that Jim is not disciplined.
A representative from the FBU firefighters’ union, which is also fighting cutbacks across South Yorkshire, will be speaking at the rally.
The suspension of Unison branch secretary Jim Board, which was later revoked, continues to puzzle local trade unionists. Jim is now back at work and awaiting the decision of a disciplinary hearing.
The director of Doncaster children and young people’s services, Nick Jarman, drove through the decision to suspend Jim with support from Jill Higgs, the council’s head of human resources.
An email from Jarman to Higgs in reference to Jim’s suspension states that, “It is inevitable that if we are going to bring about modernisation and lasting reform and improvement in this organisation, that we will have to stand up to people who don’t see it that way, or worse, think they can obstruct things.”
This email was sent the day after Jarman suspended Jim on the grounds that Jim failed to “follow a reasonable management instruction”. This came after he spoke to Channel 4 news about children’s services in Doncaster after two young boys pled guilty to inflicting horrible injuries on boys of a similar age. The Unison union is backing Jim in his fight.
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