Thursday, 31 May 2007

Lobby Brown in Oxford- June 10th

Lobby the Labour hustings in Oxford- Sunday 10th June
Assemble 11.30am on Pembroke St (by the Westgate Centre).

In May and June, Gordon Brown will be holding a series of hustings around the country. Stop the War groups are organising lobbies at all of these hustings, demanding that, as the next prime minister, he brings all British troops home from Iraq now, in keeping with the view held by the majority of British people.

Called by Oxford Stop the War Coalition,
East Oxford Stop the War, Oxford Student Stop the War

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Oxford post fight is on the cards

Postal workers in Oxford are to ballot after management imposed job cuts without agreement.
CWU union members at the delivery office in Oxpens Road have called for a fast-track ballot after six jobs were deleted.

Oxfordshire CWU rep Bob Cullen said, “Management has taken executive action to make six positions redundant. The individuals involved have been redeployed, but it means that at Oxpens Road deliveries are heavier, we will be working a longer day and we will be struggling to complete jobs.”

If a strike goes ahead it will hit the OX1 and OX2 postcodes, which include the city centre.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Peers Academy meeting successes

Two successful estate meeting were held this week at Rose Hill and Blackbird Leys community centres. Both drew audiences of around 50 people, giving campaigners the sense that this fight can be won and the attempt by New Labour to break up the local comprehensive system defeated.
Amongst the speakers was Neil Williams from the Milton Keynes Respect who spoke about the local Anti Academies Campaign and how it had started to rattle the Lib Dem unitary council. In Milton Keynes parents were petitioning for the right to have a vote over the future of their schools.

At the Rose Hill meeting the Head Teacher of Peers joined other teachers from the school in the debate. Although she argued that she supported the bid she made it clear that she felt herself to be in 'a difficult position'. Other teachers and campaigners spoke convincingly about the improvements taking place at Peers over the recent period and the disruption and long term damage to accountability and fairness that would be done by academy status.

At the Blackbird Leys meeting two New Labour County Councillors sat through the meeting without putting any arguments for academies. Local parents reacted angrily to the suggestion from them that no parents were present and they were forced to apologise. Councillor Val Smith, wife of the local Labour MP, claimed that she would put the arguments for the academy at the formal consultation meetings in June, but again when challenged it was clear that she did not yet know what these would be.

To contact the Oxford Anti Academies Alliance e-mail:
For Oxford Mail article on Rose Hill meeting :

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Levellers Day

Members of Oxford Respect joined local trade union activists and peace activists at the annual Levellers Day event in Burford in Oxfordshire.

The day commemorates the events of the 17th May 1649, three soldiers were executed on Oliver Cromwell’s orders in Burford churchyard, Oxfordshire. They belonged to a movement popularly known as the Levellers, with beliefs in civil rights and religious tolerance. During the Civil War, they fought on Parliament’s side, had at first seen Cromwell as a liberator, but now saw him as a dictator. They were prepared to fight against him for their ideals and he was determined to crush them. Over 300 of them were captured by Cromwell’s troops and locked up in Burford church. Three were led out into the churchyard to be shot as ringleaders.

For more information see:

Academy consultation farce

From the Oxford Mail:

Dear Sir,

The sight of the advertisment for a principal of Peers Academy (salary circa £100,000) in the Education Guardian took me by suprise.

I understand that we were in a period of consultation with the local community about the proposal to establish the academy.
Does this mean that whaterver we say will be conveniently ignored and that the decision to press ahead with the academy has already been made?

Chris Blakey
Oxfordshire National Union of Teachers

Oxfordshire climate groups come together to lobby over new climate bill

Letter to the Oxford Times

Dear Sir - In March this year the Government published its draft Climate Change Bill, which sets out a legally binding framework for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions which lead to climate change.

This is now in a consultation phase, in which members of the public are invited to submit their comments by June 12.

As representatives of local environmental and community groups in Oxfordshire, we welcome this development, but we believe the current draft of the Bill does not go far enough towards achieving the size of emissions cuts we need.

The Bill's target of a 60 per cent cut in carbon dioxide by 2050 needs to be at least 80 per cent to take account of the latest science The draft Bill proposes five-year "carbon budgets", but this is longer than the electoral cycle and so would make it too easy for successive governments to blame each other for any failure to meet the targets. Instead, we propose three per cent cuts every year The two fastest growing sources of emissions, international aviation and shipping, are excluded from the Bill The Bill should increase aid targets to help communities in poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The consultation offers an opportunity for these and other shortcomings to be addressed, and we, therefore, encourage your readers to respond to it by visiting the I Count website at or writing to Patrick Erwin/James Hardy, Climate Change Legislation Team, Area 4/F5, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.
Colette Humphrey, Banbury Friends of the Earth,
Maureen Dyroff, Chinnor & Thame Friends of the Earth,
Hilary Blake, Christian Aid, Oxford Unit,
Maranda St John Nicolle, Christian Concern for One World,
Tim Baster, Climate Outreach and Information Network,
Jill Haas, Oxford Campaign against Climate Change,
Karl Wallendszus, Oxford Friends of the Earth,
David Taylor, Oxford Oxfam Group,
Ingrid Royle, Oxfordshire Greenpeace Group,
Kevin Meaney, Oxford World Development Movement Group,
Martin Hodson, Sage (Oxford's Christian Environmental Group),
Simon Pratt, Sustrans South East Regional Office,
Adam Twine, Director, Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative Ltd,

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Call to build for International Climate Protest December 8th 2007

Oxford based activist Jonathan Neale spoke about the forthcoming December 8th International Climate Protest, planned to coinside with the UN Climate talks in Indonesia.

The meeting took place at the International Climate Conference in London this weekend.

See for more details.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Michael Lavalette victory in Preston

Respect councillor Michael Lavalette routed New Labour to retain his seat on Preston council. Respect polled 1179 votes, beating New Labour by 462 votes.

"New Labour threw everything at us in this campaign but they lost this among working class voters of every background. They lost it on the Iraq war, on the NHS and on privatisation" said Michael Lavalette.

Polling over 50 percent of all the votes cast in the Town Centre ward this is a massive reverse for New Labour in Preston.

In the Preston Riversway ward Respect's Elaine Abbot came second to New Labour and in the St Matthews ward the Respect candidate Samira Rezwan also came second to New Labour polling 339 votes to New Labour's 675.

Michael added, "This is a tremendous result for Respect. It is a vindication of our strategy for the the past four years of representing people, taking up casework, holding regular surgeries, and combining this with the big issues, such as opposing the war on Iraq and defending the NHS and the welfare state.

"When I was elected in 2003, Labour said that our vote was just a flash in the pan and a temporary anti-war protest vote. But we have raised our vote in the ward by 633 votes.

The full result in the Town Centre ward was:

Respect 1179
Labour Party 717
Liberal Democrats 206
Conservative Party 87
Greens 63

In Birmingham Respect's Mohammed Ishtiaq beat New Labour by over 1,000 votes to join Salma Yaqoob as Respect's second councillor in the Sparkbrook ward. The Liberal Democrats trailed in third with a poor 919 votes.

In Bolsover, Respect's Ray Holmes took 53 percent of the vote to gain the Shirebrook North seat from New Labour.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Serious move in Oxford dispute

Striking security guards at three of Oxford’s park and ride sites are considering escalating their action to an all-out strike. The council has threatened to replace the striking workers during stoppages, and to take disciplinary action against them.

Security guard Paul Griffiths said, “Our action is for our right to be safe at work and for our customers to be safe while on our premises.

“Lone working in car parks at night will not only make us unsafe, but will render us useless in providing a service.

“Management have told staff to lock themselves in the office at night if they are alone.

“What is the point of security staff locked in a building watching a crime take place?

“They are trying to break us. We are going to find it extremely hard next month but the public support keeps us going.”

Monday, 7 May 2007

Yes to investment No to Academy status for Peers School!

The campaign against plans to hand a rebuilt Peers School over to private sponsors is building up steam. Trade Unionists and campaigners heard local teachers set out their concerns about the proposals at last Saturdays May Day march in Oxford. For a full report in the Oxford Mail see:

Public meetings have now been organised to provide more information about the Peers School bid:

Rose Hill Community Centre 7.30 22nd May

Blackbird Leys Community Centre 7.30 24th May

(To help leaflet Rose Hill for the meeting meet 12noon at the Oval Sunday 13th May)

Also see previous posts:

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Oxford Park and Ride Dispute.

Union Rep explains issues behind Oxford Park and Ride dispute.

Donations to the UNISON branch hardship fund and messages of support should be sent to: UNISON Office, St. Aldate's Chambers, 109 St Aldate's, Oxford, OX1 1DS Cheques should be made out to ‘UNISON Oxford City Branch’ You can contact the branch on, or call 01865 252672

Friday, 4 May 2007

May 5th rally and march, local elections update and branch meeting details

1) Saturday MAY 5th
May Day March - Public Services Not For Sale
Assemble 12 noon Bonn Square, march to Manzil Way

Billy Hayes- General Secretary of Communication Workers Union
Simon Boniface- PCS Union
Yunus Baksh- Victimised Health Worker
Anti Acadamies speaker
Javier Ruiz – Justice for Cleaners Campaign TGWU

2) Excellent progress for Respect in local elections. Check out the results here:

3) The next Oxford Respect branch meeting will be Tuesday 15th May at 7.30pm in the Town Hall. There will be a discussion about the local election results and the strategy in Oxford over the next year.