Protesters in Hounslow, west London, followed up their recent 3,000-strong demonstration against education cuts with a lobby of 400 people last week. The protest has clearly rattled the Labour group in the council. Councillors are attacking Labour MP Ann Keen for doing nothing to stop the reduction in government funding which is behind the cuts.
New Labour has backed off from its original plans. It now says it is going to spread the cuts more evenly. However, most of the protesters don't want early learning education saved at the expense of secondary education.
Action to plug gas job leaks
THE PRIVATISED gas firm Transco could face strike action after it announced a further 1,500 agency jobs would be axed on top of the 2,400 job cuts announced last week.
The workers' GMB and Unison unions are threatening strikes against the job cuts. The service already relies heavily on overtime, with some maintenance workers putting in an 80-hour week.
The cuts came after the gas regulator Ofgem announced Transco had to cut prices and pass on savings to customers.
Brum pickets get the picture
OVER 100 workers, trade unionists and local people picketed Archfolds Limited picture frame factory in Birmingham last week. They turned back lorries sent to asset-strip the factory. All 170 workers have been laid off for three weeks after management refused to pay wages over Christmas.
The firm then bounced the workers' pay cheques in January.
Send messages of support to Birmingham Trades Council, Gazette Buildings, Corporation Street, Birmingham.
Hundreds turn out for Tony
Over 800 people turned up to hear Tony Benn speak in central London last week. In the discussion the audience raised US plans to extend the war, and the need to mobilise people for the anti-war demonstration on 2 March. They also discussed how increasing anger with the government is provoking industrial unrest.
One contributor got a good response after questioning whether it is right for the trade unions to continue funding New Labour.
No education from Lib Dems
Every parent who spoke at a 200-strong meeting in Liverpool last week attacked the planned closure of two schools. The Liberal Democrat council is aiming to shut Anfield and Breckfield comprehensive schools in an effort to open a city academy, the first of its type nationally.
Many parents argued that the council had deliberately underfunded the schools to make their case for the academy. Parents voted unanimously against the schools closure.