Huge protests over NHS cuts
Over 2,000 people marched through the streets of Penrith in Cumbria on Thursday 15 December in protest at plans for bed closures at seven cottage hospitals.
Protesters came from Brampton, Keswick, Maryport, Cockermouth, Alston, Millom and Penrith itself.
The NHS trust in these areas has proposed cutting 118 beds to save £2.4 million.
Other protests have also taken part across north Cumbria, including in Keswick on Boxing Day. North Cumbria Primary Care Trust has postponed a consultation on its plans to cut services until February.
Justice for Azelle Rodney
The family of Azelle Rodney, a 24 year old black man who was shot dead by the Metropolitan Police in north west London following a pre-planned operation last April, held a protest outside the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in London on Tuesday 13 December.
It called on the IPCC to send the evidence file from their investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice on criminal charges against the police.
Azelle’s mother, Susan Alexander, said, “The CPS should be asked if there is evidence to support criminal charges of murder or gross negligence manslaughter. If an officer makes an honest mistake and others have made mistakes along the way in a police operation, a criminal jury should decide whether the mistakes amount to gross negligence, not a non-independent ‘police expert’.”
Protest over fire cuts in Herts
Watford trades council and campaigners to save Bovingdon fire station petitioned in the town on the Saturday after the Buncefield oil depot explosion against cuts in the Hertfordshire fire service.
Over 300 signatures were collected in about an hour and a half.
Tory-run Hertfordshire council wants to close two rural fire stations in Radlett and Bovingdon by April. The Bovingdon fire station is only minutes away from the site of the Buncefield fire.
In addition cuts in night shift levels are planned in Watford, which is also to lose an aerial appliance in the town. Up to 57 fire service jobs could be cut.
Chorus of dissent at opera house
Workers at the English National Opera (ENO), who are members of the Bectu union, have voted to strike over pay. The technical and administrative staff at ENO voted by 94 percent for a strike.
Management has offered a 2.8 percent pay rise. Workers want 5 percent.
ENO is in crisis. In late November, artistic director and chief executive Seán Doran stepped down. Three weeks later, chairman Martin Smith departed.
Journalists at the Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in response to job cuts at the titles, which are owned by Northcliffe.
The NUJ union members voted three to one in favour of action and are now considering their next step.
Management wants to make 36 redundancies, which are due to take effect from the end of January.
Journalists held a protest on Tuesday 20 December.
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