Thursday, 26 April 2007

Oxford Rally to Defend Jobs and Public Services May 1st


1st May
at 12:00 noon
Bonn Square

Andy Reid - PCS National Executive Committee
Mark Fysh - Unison County and TUC General Council
Dona Velluti - Oxford and District Trades Council

Tuesday 1 May is a key date for the fight to break Gordon Brown’s 2 percent public sector wage freeze and to defend public services.

This May Day will see 250,000 PCS civil service workers’ union members striking against job cuts that will devastate services, and against low pay and privatisation. Other groups of workers will protest and show solidarity with us.

The PCS is leading the revolt against Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s plans to give workers an effective pay cut while forcing us to work harder.

But other groups of workers look set to join us. NHS workers in the Unison and RCN unions are planning to ballot to take action over pay. The Unison health conference also supported protests on 1 May.

The teachers’ NUT and NASUWT unions have both recently voted at their conferences to ballot their members if a 2 percent pay offer is made to members. Postal workers in the CWU union are also moving towards confrontation over the issue.

The Labour government stands behind the attacks on public sector workers and the services we provide. The same government that is proud to spend billions of pounds on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is refusing to give its workers a decent pay rise.

The government is fighting hard against us. The Cabinet Office has declared that talks between the government and the PCS will not take place until the union calls off its industrial action.
Blair may be going very soon, but things aren’t going to get better under Brown, the architect of the cuts in the civil service, the pay limit and New Labour’s wider free market policies.
We will need to fight even harder under Brown. May Day will take place two days before local government elections across Britain, and elections to the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly.

The strike and events on May Day will highlight the threat the public sector faces from New Labour. The PCS’s strategy in this dispute is based on raising the political issues to hit New Labour, and fighting for the biggest possible unity of public sector workers in action.

Kate Douglas, Oxford Respect and joint branch secretary of the PCS Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire DWP branch (pers Cap)

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Oxfordshire Respect join Unite Against Fascism to campaign against the BNP in Henley

The BNP are standing a candidate in the local elections in Henley South. Oxfordshire Respect members joined other supporters of Oxfordshire Unite Against Fascism to leaflet the ward last Saturday and Sunday, urging people to vote to keep the fascists out.

A copy of the laflet can be found at

A similar mobilsation against the BNP and National Front in Bicester at the last election saw the BNP disappear ater one challenge and the National ront candidte give up standing after getting nowhere. The people of West ward in Bicester responded with an increased turnout that destroyed the National Front's attempts to capitalise on an anti-asylum seeker mood.

The BNP are standing a record number of candidates across the UK. The BNP successes in recent years shows he need for campaigning n response to their presence. Even paper candidates help promote the idea that they are part of the potical mainstream. We cannot alow fascism to become part and parcel of polictical life in the UK.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Letter to Oxford Mail over Peers Academy bid

To the Editor

The premise of academy schools (New Academy Offers Much, Letters Monday 8th April) is that in return for a negligible financial contribution sponsors are give more or less absolute control of the school's curriculum, ethos and staffing. They can control admissions policy and are allowed to select up to 10% of the intake should they choose. One of the scandals of the national academies debate has been the diminishing amount of funding required from sponsors before they are handed control of a school, which are normally built almost entirely from the public finance.
Nationally there has been a lack of transparency over contributions and I hope that the sums involved in the Peers bid will be made public so that people can have an informed debate on this matter.

The issue is not whether the people of East Oxford deserve a new £22m school, but why this school has to be established on such a convoluted basis. The academies framework is one derived entirely from New Labour market theology rather than from any local campaign or educational lobby.

In 2006 a hapless head teacher and New Labour wonk Des Smith was caught by a newspaper promising that honours could be lined up for supporters of the academy programme. A year on he is less sanguine, quoted as saying of academies 'Money has been wasted in the most appalling way. Many of them are the same schools with the same problems, just with new buildings' (Education Guardian, April 3rd 2007). Hardly a ringing endorsement.

David Radford
Oxford Respect

Above: Respect supporters out last weekend campaigning on the issue of Academy status for Peers School

Oxford Campaign Against Climate Change Meeting: 'Solutions to Climate Change: Contraction and Convergence', Thurs 26th April

Oxford Campaign against Climate Change will be hoting a meeting on 'Solutions to Climate Change: Contraction and Convergence- A global framework to cope with Climate Change'. There will be a short film and questions on C&C will be fielded by Dr Mark Levene.

The meeting will be a 7.30 Friends Meeting House, St Giles Thursday 26th April 2007

Left: Oxford Climate activists came together in Corn Market last Saturday to promote the 'Step it up' initiative, as part as global day of action against climate change.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Oxford Respect Public Meeting: Exploitation in the UK- Issues faced by migrant workers

In place of our regular branch meeting this April we will be hosting a public meeting on the issues faced by migrant workers.

This will be at 7.30 on Tuesday 17th April at the Asian Cultural Centre, Manzil Way (Of Cowley Road).

We have a guest speaker - Nigel Carter from the Oxford Unison Health Branch (personal capacity).