#Coventry people Campaign for connected Services

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Members of Coventry City UNISON were joined by anti cuts activists, members of the public and delegates from Coventry Trade Union Council to rally for connected services for Coventry residents. The event took place outside the Central Library at noon on Saturday 3rd Decembers

Members of the public queued up to sign the petition in defence of libraries and were very keen to get involved. A petition by the Save the Library Campaign is due to be handed in to the City Council at 1pm on Monday 12th December. Visit the Save the Libraries Campaign Facebook page for more info  img_4401

 

The ‘Connecting Communities’ consultation includes proposals which will hit libraries, children’s centres, youth services and nursery provision. New proposals from the City Council now threaten an additional £36m of cuts over three years with many vital services now under threat. It is hard to see how the proposals actually play a role in ‘Connecting’ our communities.

UNISON will continue to campaign for our high quality public services to be delivered by Council staff, accountable to elected Members and to the public we serve. Contact communications@coventryunison.co.uk for more information on how to get involved….

Democracy for real – Draft Letter to you MP ref Connecting Communities

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Hi All

We have a draft template of a letter ref Connecting Communities, for you to download (Word format), edit and send on to your MP.

For those who don’t do Microsoft, the text is below….

Thanks

Coventry City UNISON

letter-to-mp

 


Dear X MP

I am writing to you regarding the Connecting Communities programme that Coventry City Council has put out to consultation.

As one of your constituents I have great concerns about what is being proposed and believe that it is going to have a very negative impact on our city.

Connecting Communities will hit libraries, children’s centres, youth services and nursery provision. There is a real danger that the universal offer of public services and access will be determined by where you happen to live. It is hard to see how the proposals actually play a role in ‘Connecting’ our communities.

I also am very worried about the Council intending to sack paid staff and replace them with volunteers (for example in the library service). We are not aware of any examples of where this has worked for the benefit of the staff and also the local community who use these services?

Coventry needs public services that are accessible and accountable, particularly in times of austerity and it is surely the wrong choice to make these cuts. I understand that the funding from central government has reduced since 2010, however at the same time the Council has increased its reserves.

As our MP I would urge you to defend public services in our city – and would ask what are you doing to defend these vital services and to win more funding from central government for Coventry?

I believe the council should abandon these proposals, use its considerable financial reserves to continue to support these services and actively campaign with the citizens of Coventry to demand full funding of these public services from central government

If ‘Connecting Communities’ continues then it will be to the detriment of the city. I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter.

Yours Sincerely

Name, Address

 

National Library Campaign Update

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This is a general heads up. After the fantastic 2,500 strong National Demonstration for Libraries, Museums and Galleries, we are now planning a series of regional marches starting in Warrington which faces drastic library cuts. The local campaigners are looking at dates, depending on when the council plans to press forward with its plans. Please be prepared to pull out all the stops to support this initiative. We want all public sector campaigns to rally around this issue.

Report

On Saturday, November 5th, the National March for Libraries, Museums and Galleries drew a good crowd, estimated between two thousand and two thousand five hundred people in press reports.

Initiated by local trade union branches representing public sector workers in the cultural services and library campaigners, the march drew library staff, members of the public, workers in museums, galleries, archives and the arts, trade unionists, authors and illustrators. It surpassed the organisers’ expectations.

On a bright, crisp autumn morning, supporters including campaigners from Warrington, Swindon, Coventry, Merseyside, the North East, Wales and elsewhere gathered near the British Library to hear speeches from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, Warrington, Swindon and Coventry campaigners, authors Philip Ardagh and Alan Gibbons and others.

A lively march weaved its way through central London to Trafalgar Square where speakers included the legendary Ralph, eleven-year-old Barnet campaigner, poet Steve Tasane, Clara Paillard, President of the PCS Culture Sector, Kathleen Smith from Bromley Unite, Barnet Unison members striking to save local libraries, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen, Douniazed Zaouche from the French trade union, the CGT, Paula Peters from the disabled campaign group DPAC, Zita Holbourne from Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Sara Wayid from the Museums Association, Sarah Kasab of Unite, a representative of the Durham Teaching Assistants, Bob and Roberta Smith, Cathy Cassidy, Sian Berry of the Green Party, Corinne Sweet of the Writers’ Guild and Megan Dobney from the South East Region of the TUC .

For years the Department of Culture Media and Sport has hidden behind the funding arrangement for the cultural sector which leaves councils in charge, but operating within nationally determined funding and strategic planning. This allows central government to step back and say, mischievously: “Not down to us, people. It is all the responsibility of those wicked councils.”

Added to this, cuts have fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of the large metropolitan councils, most likely to be run by the Labour Party. Saturday’s demonstration, while not absolving councils of responsibility, reminded the public that it is the government which sets overall funding and which has failed consistently to provide leadership. Ireland and New Zealand face the same severe economic conditions, but have made far fewer cuts, partly because, particularly in the case of libraries they have national plans.

Campaigners are now seeking meetings with the Culture Ministers and are actively discussing a series of regional demonstrations to further raise consciousness among the public of the havoc wrought by the failed ‘austerity agenda.’

The North West region is taking responsibility for staging the first such march and is scheduled for Warrington in the New Year. As speaker after speaker insisted, this was a qualitative gear shift in campaigning.

The campaign has only just begun.

This film gives a sense of the march:

https://vimeo.com/190425076

UNION STREET NEWS – Issue 15 – GET IT HERE…

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Latest Issue – articles on Connecting Communities, Palestine, Jeremy Corbyn and more….

Essential reading for all public service workers in Coventry.

GET IT HERE – union-street-news-issue-15