> The PCS union may wring its hands and claim “we are only obeying orders” when it comes to its DWP members enforcing sanctions on the unemployed, but it seems other sections can get off their collective arse when it’s them likely to lose an income.
Workers who fear for their futures under a possible privatisation began a 48-hour strike today (Wednesday, May 14).
Staff at the Land Registry office in Durham City are among thousands of Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members employed by the agency across the country who are taking action.
They are concerned that the Government agency is going to be privatised and that offices will be closed and jobs lost.
The Land Registry employs about 400 people in Durham , most of them PCS members, and is one of the city’s major employers.
PCS branch chairman Kim Lowes said: “We had a really good turn-out, in all about 30 people visited the picket line.
“We think it is the best-supported strike action we have had, certainly in my time at Durham Land Registry. We think upwards of 85 per cent of members were out.
“We have had national strikes in the past about pay and pensions but this one is different. This is potentially about the future of the Land Registry in Durham completely.
“If they go down the road of office closures and Durham is one of them, then nobody will be safe regardless of grade or how long they have worked there.
“There are an awful lot of families and couples in particular that work there that will lose both wage earners.
Ms Lowes said workers were concerned about the future quality of the service, treatment of personal data and charges under a private owner.
Source – Durham Times, 14 May 2014
Sunderland has the lowest number of businesses out of any city in the UK, according to the latest report from think tank Centre for Cities.
Authors of the annual ‘health check’ of UK cities for 2014 also found Sunderland had the slowest-growing population, and was second bottom for business start ups.
The central spine of the report was the trend which showed the economic gap is widening between London and other cities.
Highlighting Sunderland, the report’s authors also listed Newcastle and Middlesbrough in the bottom ten cities for businesses in the UK.
The report also found there almost 10 times more jobs being created in the capital than the next best area.
Centre for Cities research revealed that London accounted for 80 per cent of national private sector employment growth between 2010 and 2012.
For every public sector job created in the capital, two have been lost in other cities, the study found.
While London is “booming”, cities such as Bradford, Blackpool and Glasgow have seen jobs lost in private and public sectors, said the report.
There has also been a significant number of jobs created in private firms in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Liverpool which have helped offset the impact of public sector job cuts.
In the two years to 2012 there were 216,000 private sector and 66,300 public sector jobs created in London, compared with losses of 7,800 and 6,800 in Glasgow, said Centre for Cities.
Other cities where jobs have been created in private companies included Nottingham (8,900), Brighton (6,400) and Aberdeen (4,900), but they were all hit by cuts in public sector employment.
The report said: “London remains the UK’s economic power house and is pivotal to the UK’s future success.”
Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “The gap between London and other UK cities is widening and we are failing to make the most of cities’ economic potential.
“Devolving more funding and powers to UK cities so they can generate more of their own income and play to their different strengths will be critical to ensuring this is a sustainable, job-rich recovery.”
Sunderland Echo, 27 January 2014