HACKNEY councillors in east London called three vanloads of police last week to intimidate parents and young children lobbying a meeting over nursery cuts. Huge reductions in spending threaten several of the borough's nurseries, in particular the much respected Atherden Road nursery which is to be sold off. A heated meeting saw parents heckle the councillors and demand that they withdraw the cuts. But the New Labour and Tory councillors united to push the attacks through.
When councillors felt they were under too much pressure they phoned for the cops. "We do not accept our nursery is going to close. We are going to keep fighting for the future of our children," said a member of the Save Atherden Road Nursery campaign.
ELECTIONS FOR branch officers in the biggest branch of the UNISON public sector workers' union produced a rebuff for the union's national leaders. UNISON leaders suspended Birmingham council branch last year as part of their vendetta against the left.
In this context the union's leaders staged new elections for the branch officers. Although pro-leadership candidates won some key positions, the union's leaders got a shock. Left winger Faith Ryan, who is being expelled by the union's leaders, won a vote of confidence from the rank and file when she was elected as a key union officer.
Una O'Brien, Sandra Greene, Dave Hughes and Dave Buckley, all left wingers, also won despite many facing disciplinary action by the union's leaders.