Tagged: Mayor of South Tyneside

Jarrow March tribute’s facelift unveiled

REVAMP ... Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham,  are joined by councillors as they unveil the plaque for the Jarrow March.

REVAMP … Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham, are joined by councillors as they unveil the plaque for the Jarrow March.

 

 

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, performed the unveiling of the refurbished plaque at Jarrow Town Hall.

Originally given to the marchers by the former Jarrow Borough Council, the plaque was badly in need of repair.

But members of Jarrow and Boldon community area forum stepped in with a £468 grant towards the refurbishment costs.

Coun Jim Perry, forum chairman, said: “The Jarrow March remains very much in the hearts of local people, so I’m delighted to be able to pay homage to their memory with this plaque.”

Coun Cunningham said: “The Jarrow Crusade was a defining moment in the history of the borough, the region and the country as a whole. The plaque is a testament to the marchers’ efforts to highlight poverty – an issue as relevant today as it was at the time of the march in 1936.”

Following the closure of Palmers Shipyard, the town’s main employer in the 1930s, 74 per cent of all workers in Jarrow were unemployed.

As the march was launched, most of the town’s working population was still on the dole, sparking crippling poverty and record infant mortality rates.

After novelist JB Priestley visited Jarrow in 1933, he wrote: “I have seen nothing like it since the war. There is no escape anywhere from its prevailing misery.”

Priestley added: “Wherever we went, there were men hanging about, not scores of them, but hundreds and thousands of them.

“The whole town looked as if it had entered a penniless bleak Sabbath.”

It was against this desperate backdrop that the Jarrow Crusade – as it was originally called – was organised, with around 200 men setting off from Jarrow Town Hall on October 5, 1936, to march to Westminster to demand work for the town from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

The marchers covered more than 290 miles, but received little support from the powers-that-be when they reached London.

Employment in the town only rose significantly when Palmers Shipyard was reopened as part of the war effort.

Source – Shields Gazette,  19 July 2014

North East public sector strike news – 2

SUNDERLAND –

Puplic services ground to a halt across Wearside yesterday as workers walked out in support of the strike. Schools, libraries, leisure centres, museums and other public buildings were shut.

Pickets were in place outside Sunderland Civic Centre.

John Kelly, secretary of Unite’s Sunderland City Council Branch, said: “Unite is proud to be taking part in strike action alongside our fellow trade unions.

“This is a fight for better public services, and for fair pay for those who work hard to deliver those services.

“Council workers have been targeted to bear the brunt of the austerity measures that have been imposed by millionaire cabinet ministers since 2010. Unite fully understand that Labour-run councils like Sunderland City Council are the scapegoats when implementing this Coalition Government’s austerity measures.

“Local government workers and the communities they deliver services to believe that local government workers should have fair pay, not poverty pay.”

Source – Sunderland Echo, 11 July 2014

SOUTH TYNESIDE –

There were pickets outside South Shields Town Hall, the town’s Middlefields refuse depot and at the JobCentre in Chapter Row, and more than half of schools in the borough closed for the day.

All the borough’s libraries were also shut, and all council refuse collections were cancelled, and the crematorium on John Reid Road, South Shields, closed for the day.

Despite the widespread disruption, Merv Butler, branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, believes the public remain generally supportive of the action – and the reasons behind it.

Horn-beeping motorists expressed support for the dozen or so trade unionists gathered outside the town’s hall’s Beach Road entrance yesterday and, also on hand to show his support was Labour councillor Ernest Gibson, Mayor of South Tyneside last year.

There were pickets from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Harton Technology College in South Shields.

The school was closed to pupils, although members of other teaching unions and non-union staff did go into work.

COUNTY DURHAM –

Striking workers picketed outside council offices, job centres, tax offices and courts across County Durham and North Yorkshire.

Workers from government agencies including the Student Loans Company in Darlington, the Passport Office in Durham City and the HM Revenue & Customs offices in Thornaby took part in the industrial action.

In County Durham, more than 130 schools closed for the day, although only a handful of Darlington’s schools shut.

Twenty North Yorkshire schools closed and a further 50 suffered disruption.

On Teesside about 35 schools in Stockton were closed or partially-closed.

A survey commission by Unite on the eve of the strike found that 50 per cent of people in the North of England agreed that the local government workers’ call for an £1 per-hour pay rise was justified.

The poll confirms that people across the North support workers who are fighting to end poverty pay in our local councils,” said Mike Routledge, Unite local government officer for the North-East.

Source – Northern Echo, 10 July 2014

HARTLEPOOL –

Picket lines could be seen around the town with the most prominent outside of the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, Hartlepool.

Other’s took place outside Hartlepool Borough Council-run buildings in Church Street, and also in Wesley Square, outside the Jobcentre.

Councillor Stephen Thomas, Labour representative for the De Bruce ward, was also on the picket line to offer his support.

Coun Thomas, who works for Health Watch Hartlepool but took the day off to take part in the action, said: “I’m here to basically show my support to the strikers because I think that the way the Government is treating government sector workers is absolutely appalling.

“The one per cent pay rise they’ve had in the last four years equates to a 14 per cent cut in real terms.”

Teachers were also included in the strike with a number of Hartlepool schools closed for the day.

The Fire Brigade Union (FBU) also joined forces in the strike action, with crews from Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Stranton Fire Station forming a protest.

Brian Gibson, the FBU chairman for Cleveland, said: “The action we took part in is particularly important because all the unions have got together to show our strength of feeling at getting one per cent pay rises. The FBU’s argument is also with the Government over pensions.”

He added: “We’ve had great public support, all we’ve had is support.

“We’re so pleased.”

Source – Hartlepool Mail, 11 July 2014

MIDDLESBROUGH –

Outside Middlesbrough Town Hall this morning, many office workers arriving for work crossed the picket lines.

Dawn Nicholson, Unison Area Organiser said: “It’s going well.

“Some people are crossing the picket lines but a lot of them are employed by Mouchel.

“Mouchel workers haven’t been balloted and can’t strike but many have signed our petition.”

However as one woman made her way into work she answered calls for her to strike saying: “People are still need to make a living.

GMB union, shop steward, Brian Foulger, said: “We’re quite surprised by how many people, even management, have gone out on strike.

“Since 2010, local government have been putting money away for a rainy day. Well, it’s pouring down.”

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 10 July 2014

NHS campaigners will recreate the Jarrow march

Health campaigners will retrace the steps of the original Jarrow Marchers as part of their fight to protect the NHS.

 Several hundred people are expected to take part in a mass rally outside Jarrow Town Hall on Saturday, August 16, before a group of NHS campaigners head off on the 300-mile march to London.

Evoking memories of the famous 1936 Jarrow Crusade, when 200 jobless men marched from the town to Westminster to demand work, the event is billed as The People’s March for the NHS, with health protesters aiming to cover up to 16 miles a day, reaching the capital on September 6.

The 999 Call for the NHS campaign has already won the support of various organisations, including the TUC.

> That’s ironic… with the original Jarrow Crusade, the TUC of the day circularised Trades Councils advising them not to help the marchers.  The Labour party also opposed it. And probably still would today.

Beth Farhat, regional secretary of the Northern TUC, said: “This march is being organized by a group of mums in Darlington, emulating the Jarrow March, but in aid of saving our NHS.

“I am helping them organize a rally in Jarrow on August 16, to set the march off.

“They have gained support from many organisations up and down the country, including trade unions.”

Rehana Azam, one of the rally organisers, said campaigners are opposed to many of the changes to the NHS introduced by the Social Care Act 2012.

She said: “We are opposed to what we see as the sell-off of the NHS by this Government,

“We aim to raise awareness about the issues and hope the rally in Jarrow will attract major media coverage.

> Given the recent media lack of enthusiasm about rallies of 50,000 people in London, perhaps best not to expect to much…

“There should be several hundred people massing outside Jarrow Town Hall on August 16, before the march sets off for London.

“We will be campaigning on the NHS and also against things like the bedroom tax.

“The plan is to have support from people like the Mayor of South Tyneside and there should be key NHS workers and trade unionists involved in the rally.

“About 1,500 have registered to take part in the march along the route, with about 50 people marching all the way.”

For more details, log on to www.999callfornhs.org.uk

> For the record, when the original Jarrow Crusade reached London, the Prime Minister of the day, Stanley Baldwin, refused to see any of the marchers’ representatives, claiming it would set a dangerous precedent.

Source – Shields Gazette, 26 June 2014

South Tyneside – NHS Whistleblower stands for Independent Socialist Party

A man who blew the whistle on poor care for the elderly at a South Shields nursing home is aiming to fly the flag for socialism at next month’s local elections.

Phil Brown is standing for the Independent Socialist Party in the town’s Horsley Hill ward on Thursday, May 22.

Born and raised on “The Hill”, the 59-year-old married father-of-two is the son of Cathy Brown, a former Labour mayor of South Tyneside.

In 2005, the NHS nurse of 37 years raised concerns at failings in care given to residents at the privately-owned Bamburgh Court Care Home in South Shields.

And last year he stood for MP in a Parliamentary by-election after the resignation of Labour’s David Miliband, finishing in fifth place with 776 votes.

Although he retains a warmth towards Labour, he has grown disillusioned with the party and is unconvinced its leader Ed Miliband can lead it to victory at next year’s General Election.

On a local level he will be campaigning on the need for extra traffic calming meaures, parking spaces and police and warden patrols in Horsley Hill.

In South Shields generally his concerns lie with the “collapse of commerce” in the retail centre of King Street and the town centre, but he remains supportive of the ‘South Shields 365’ masterplan to regenerate the area.

Mr Brown, of Leafield Crescent, South Shields, said he was hopeful he could make an impact next month.

This is me going back to my roots. Ironically, it was my mother who helped make Horsley Hill a Labour stronghold by helping see-off the Progressives.

“Part of me will always be Labour but I honestly don’t think Ed Miliband has what it takes.

“I’m not afraid to use the word ‘socialism’. That’s what the Labour Party was built on.”

The other candidates standing in Horsley Hill are: Eileen Leask (Labour); Marilyn Huartt (Conservative) and Kelly Anne Loftus (UKIP).

Source – Shields Gazette  29 April 2014