Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Unions get behind fight to save Women’s Aid service

Issue No. 2580

Protest to defend South Yorkshire Womens Aid

Protest to defend South Yorkshire Women's Aid (Pic: Neil Terry)

A campaign to defend South Yorkshire Women’s Aid has been receiving an absolutely fabulous response from the trade unions.

The service faces closure due to lack of funding.

Our campaign appealed for support from trade unionists and we’ve been inundated.

Doncaster local government Unison union gave us £500.

Durham teaching assistants in Unison raised £200 of their own money to give to us. We got £50 from the Unison local government branch there too.

Manchester Unite health branch gave us £350, and the Unite power workers’ branch donated £1,050. Barnsley trades council gave £100.

The FBU union in South Yorkshire and Humberside raised £200 for us—firefighters donated out of their own pockets.

We’ve also had support from some Labour branches. In Sheffield, Gleadless Labour gave us £100 and the Stainforth and Barnby Dun Labour branch donated £200.

We even got £1,000 from Open Gardens, a charity. Some groups have offered us rooms to work from too.

The service will carry on with support from the community, but this is only a short term solution.

Long term, ring fenced funding from government and the local authority is urgently needed in order to keep women safe.

The donations are a recognition that women should have a specialist domestic violence service and that women campaigners should be listened to.

The support from trade unions is solidarity for an anti-austerity campaign.

This campaign is asking its own Labour MPs, councillors and council to follow the lead of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Reject cuts—and help us fight for a better, safer, caring society.

Louise Harrison, Doncaster

Donate at Join weekly protests at the civil building in Doncaster—Mondays from 11.30am

Taking on the sexists

I agree that unions must be key to challenging sexism (Letters, 8 November).

Over 30 years ago I started my first full time teaching job in a further education college. All the other lecturers were male.

My line manager thought it was a friendly gesture to ting my bra strap in our staff room.

I turned around and said very loudly, “If you ever do that again, I will have to break your neck.

“Have I made myself absolutely clear?” He replied sheepishly, “Yes.”

It was the year after the Great Miners’ Strike. I had learned, especially at the beginning of the strike, that it is important to challenge sexism.

And organising support for the strike gave people more confidence.

At the start of the strike I took a group of Yorkshire miners on delegation work around Manchester. They started complaining about having to follow a woman.

I said, “Not only are you following a woman, you’re following a student with no sense of direction. Cut the sexist crap or I am leaving you here in the rain.”

The following week I organised delegation work to take 40 miners round factories.

If the first example happened today, I suspect I would face a disciplinary hearing. Which is why it’s so important for women to join trade unions.

Challenging sexism can be hard work, but it’s important. Workplaces don’t have to be miserable, oppressive places.

Sally Kincaid, Leeds

Pay ballot has changed my workplace

The PCS union’s recent consultative ballot for strikes over pay has been galvanising in my office.

Members are impressed at the 79.2 percent vote for industrial action. The 48.8 percent turnout was the highest in the union’s history.

We think it shows that we can win a strike ballot despite the Tories’ anti-union laws.

We have had weeks of long conversations about pay where some people said we need a week’s strike to hit employers where it hurts.

Even before the ballot started we were discussing how to raise money for members to come to picket lines and meetings.

The mood has been lifted by political discussion that spread from pay to racism and refugees.

The sort of problems that people used to put up with have turned into demands for better conditions.

It isn’t easy to walk out—some of us are nervous about strikes and many would struggle to manage without a few days’ pay.

But my office is boiling and now is the time for the leadership of PCS to give us the chance to strike and win.

PCS civil service workplace rep

Don’t use tragic death to whip up homophobia

Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine wrote a horrifically homophobic article about the killing of infant Elsie Scully-Hicks by her adoptive father.

Her adoptive parents were a gay couple. Vine spouted that, “Political correctness helped kill little Elsie” but this is untrue.

Cuts to social services meant that the family situation may have been missed by stressed workers.

And mental health services obviously failed the father. It’s not just that the parents failed the child, it’s that the government failed this family.

When such cases come about in heterosexual households, the sexual orientation of the perpetrator is never mentioned. So why in this case is homophobia used as propaganda, using the caregiver’s sexual preference as ammunition?

This was a tragedy, but “political correctness” did not kill this child.

Rosa Johnston-Kincaid, Leeds

Why the US backs Israel

With regard to your article on the Golan Heights (Socialist Worker online, 8 November), Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch have been granted oil drilling rights there.

The US supports Israel financially. Israel is clearing out Palestine to make it accessible to drilling.

Jill Chapman, on Facebook

Bye bye to Theresa May?

Surely Theresa May has lost all credibility now after Priti Patel totally undermined her (Socialist Worker online, 9 November).

This is a government of the rich for the rich.

Roberto Ro, on Facebook

1917 did a ‘great service’

They were courageous and did humanity a great service (1917, when workers shook the world, 1 November).

Zamile August, on Facebook

Catalans—rich or righteous?

They want to leave Spain as they are a wealthy region and don’t want to share their wealth (Spanish state begins to jail Catalan government, 2 November).

Lynn White, on Facebook

I believe the Spanish government should enable the debate, rather than persecute and imprison a democratically elected government.

Joe McMaster, on Facebook

Even more pleased I voted Brexit from this shower of vengeful shits who preach social democracy.

John Lawson, on Facebook

UVF collusion with the cops

Collusion is not an illusion! (New documentary shows cover up behind Ulster Volunteer Force killings, 4 November).

Conor McCarry, on Facebook

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