PROTESTS BY parents and school students are making waves in Northumberland. The Labour-run county council plans to shut 45 schools as part of a move from a three-tier system-with first, middle and high schools-to a two-tier school system with primary and secondary schools.
On Tuesday of last week 300 schoolchildren held a protest in the village of Corbridge. In the evening parents unfurled a "Save our school" banner over the high street.
Last Saturday around 150 teachers, parents and students protested in Morpeth, collecting signatures on a petition against the school closures.
Portsmouth UAF launch a success
UNITE AGAINST Fascism held a very successful launch in Portsmouth on Wednesday of last week.
Over 60 people attended the rally, with strong representation from local trade unionists, teachers and students.
The platform of Mark Steel, Caroline Lucas MEP, Steve Silver from Searchlight and Labour councillor Carol Lowndes were united in their call for a broad campaign to prevent the BNP getting a foothold in the Portsmouth area.
Speakers from the floor, especially prospective Labour candidate for Portsmouth North Sarah McCarthy Fry, former professional footballer Richard Moran and Respect Euro candidate John Molyneux, reinforced the need for an immediate collective response wherever the BNP show their faces. Star guest at the meeting, however, was a superb and huge caricature statue of BNP FŸhrer Nick Griffin by local artist Duncan Tickner.
From here the campaign moves immediately to counter leafletting in areas where the BNP have leafleted recently, and to an anti-fascist gig.
Positive end to health dispute
A STRIKE ballot of Unison members at Manchester Mental Health Trust and a planned lobby of the trust's board meeting have been cancelled after successful negotiations with management.
Letters sacking three members of staff have been withdrawn, and the trust has returned to working within agreed procedures.
Record battle must be replayed
JOURNALISTS AT the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail are reballoting for strikes after management threatened to use the law against their action.
NUJ union members at the titles were to strike on 14 and 21 May in protest at proposed redundancies. However, managers said that the action had been announced too long after the strike ballot and was illegal.
The results of a ballot for industrial action on 13 April revealed that 75 percent of workers were willing to strike. Management approached the conciliation service ACAS for talks, leading both the union and ACAS to believe that the dispute process had been suspended.
This could have led to an extension in the normal 28-day deadline to hold action. But management then said it had made no such concession.