Thursday, 17 March 2011

Expenses Protest

Following the recent scandal over executive expenses at Newcastle University, a demonstration is planned for 12pm on Thursday 17th March. The demonstration will take place outside the Kings Gate building.

Last year £150,000 was claimed in expenses by University management including for items as trivial as a Metro ticket. The universities Vice Chancellor Chris Brink claimed £39,000 on top of his £240,000 salary.

At a time when the university is faced with £7 million in lost funding through Government cuts which will force the closure of departments, increase in tuition fees and staff having pay and pensions reduced, many see this as a highly inappropriate use of University funds.

The demands which the protestors are placing on the University are that Newcastle University management enact an immediate freeze on executive expenses and institute a plan to reduce expenses as quickly, and publicly, as possible.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Anti Cuts Network meeting notes 26 Jan 2011

Where next for student-worker unity campaign – 26 Jan 2011
Star and Shadow Cinema

1. Report back from national conference
2. Report actions
3. Manchester demo / coach and plan
4. 5 Feb march and TUC rally
5. Council cuts
6 teach in half term
7 Name of group
8 Northumbra report
9 Announcements

70 people attended

1. Report back from National Campaign (Against Fees and Cuts) from Kieran and Zack
Conference was a national conference though not as big as hoped
Voting on structure for National Campaign and on battle plan document and future plans and organisation
Vote evenly spilt between hierarchy and non hierarchy
Regional caucus were held for North and far North/Scotland (i.e. Scotland and Newcastle caucus)
Proposal to have NCAFC meeting in region i.e Edinburgh and NE NCAFC campaign? No new specific dates

Network X report back
Gery and Trevor did report back
See blog Workshops and assemblies. Regional meeting with Scotland. Email list organised
Two callouts: independent presence on march 26 demo, and statement agreed on attacks and class struggle.
Other proposals I.e Monaco / tax haven.

2. Report on actions:
Protests since last meeting: EMA protest on vote, Mervyn King yesterday; EMA walk out today, Comments included
a. EMA vote last week and got press coverage about 60 on protest for ITV news, more were there for earlier march around town
b. Support for letter against victimisations
c. Turnout dwindling / what to be done?
d. How we involve people in NUS structures
e. Today's walkout / strike not as successful as previously
f we should coordinate and not too many call outs? Also not clear who has called what?
g focus on 5 feb march etc.
h Reported that COR (coalition of resistance) had recorded a meeting and this had been used to discipline unison left activist being critical of union leadership
i Unison Gateshead has given £100 to support transport on sat, 3000 places booked (??) on transport for tuc demo on 26 march
j alternative actions/ teachins proposed etc.
k think about how we change policies of government / drive a wedge between both sections of alliance, ask councillors view
l Correction from COR rep who reported that minutes taken on dictaphone and this issue was being resolved with individual

Report on M King. 70 protestors.. Got on ITV and sky news.
Workers didn't know that King was being invited another example of council bosses not letting ordinary people debate with king just the bosses and rich
Youtube video see link

Ewan got arrested at last weeks protest outside David Cameron secret vist and was in police station for 8 hours, no charge just fine (which was coverd by donations)

3. Coach. Now full. Except for NUS/ Union Society coach

4. Northern TUC (Trade Union Congress i.e. organisation of all Northern Trade Unions) and Public Service Alliance has organised morning seminars etc in morning
and 1pm rally (NOW IT IS 12.30PM) We proposed a student and worker march from Centre for Life to march passed the Assembly Rooms where the seminars finish to walk up to TUC rally at Monument with the Trade Unionists
This was agreed. We need to publcisie it and flyer and build and put letter in paper
Rachel proposed leafleting local areas an areas

5. Simon from Unison reported on £45 million proposed cuts including many jobs and services in Adult services, children services etc.
Proposal to close 2 day care centre (Chirton House resource centre - for older people in Byker; and Westerhope Day centre for adults with learning disabilities)
Agreed that this group should oppose all cuts to services and jobs and demand more public meetings and consultation including turning up and promoting consultations

Move into groups:
A) Demo on 5 Feb -
Proposed to assemble at 12noon centre for life
Write to TUC to let them know we are proposing and to join with us
Markus and Patrick to sort out with the police
Frankie to do FB group

B) Publicity
get notes from group
Keiran, Ed and another agreed to do leaflet / posters for 5 Feb demo

C) Propaganda
get notes from group

D) Council Cuts
Get notes from group
Also proposal to build for opposition to cuts in services (i.e. Chirton House)
Leaflet and petitioning in byker
Link with union meetings and show solidarity
As meeting in library at 2pm tomorrow, public meeting next Monday against the cuts in Byker 4.30pm, Byker Resource Centre
Need to lobby Newcastle and other councils, they can vote against cuts.

7. Name of the group
Various discussions including are we are student and workers group,
Proposals included: Anti Cuts Network, Student and Workers Action NEtwork (SWAN) or no name at all,
Majortiy for working title for group to be Anti Cuts Network and that we are a student and worker activist group

Proposal that we have a social after the demonstration on 5 Feb and that we combine this as next meeting and social at the star and shadow after the demonstration
Roger and Gerry to coordinate

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

PRESS RELEASE - Mervyn King in Newcastle

This evening, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, is having a banquet in Newcastle on the day that it was announced that in the final quarter of 2010 the UKs economy shrunk by 0.5% causing fears among economists that we could be heading for ‘stagflation’.

The banquet, which coasts £55 per person, is the only opportunity for ordinary, working people and people on fixed incomes to speak to Mervyn King and it is not likely that the majority of people could afford such an excess, especially now that inflation is at 3.7%.

In a time when there is so much public concern over the state of our economy and when everyone is feeling the pinch, everyone should be able to ask questions and express their fears to the man at the helm.

A demonstration is planned to start at 6pm today outside Newcastle Civic Centre. Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England is giving a keynote speech at a banquet which has been organised for 7pm. The demonstration is to urge Mervin King to talk to everyone, especially those on lower or fixed incomes about the problems that they will face with high unemployment and inflation.

We want to talk to Mervyn King and this is the only way we can.

Monday, 24 January 2011


The second regional anti-cuts meeting will be held on:
Wednesday 26 January,19:00 - 21:00.
At: Star and Shadow Cinema, Stepney Banks, Newcastle upon Tyne.
The cinema is at the town-side of Byker Bridge, 62 and 63 buses from town will get you there amongst others or metro to Manors.

At the first meeting (two weeks ago) it was proposed that we try to have a local anti-cuts meeting fortnightly to coordinate local campaigns, keep up to date with protests and different local struggles, inform and support each other and work together as students and workers and all members of the community against the cuts. We also set up some loose 'student-worker' groups that can start to build and support smaller campaigns.

Hope to see as many of you there as possible to help 'solidify' the way we might use these general meetings in the future. A blog/online site for collating info will be set up, mailing lists decided upon, possibly also how to structure our general meetings so that they remain useful and vital and not just another meeting you have to go to! Please come.

There are a few other anti-cuts meetings going on on the 26th, hopefully you can find time to go to both...

- Open Meeting for Northumbria Staff and Students, 'Building the Resistance against Public Spending Cuts and Tuition Fees is also on Wednesday 26 January 2011, Lipman Building Room 204 (second floor) at 5.30pm.

-> 26th Jan is also a national day of action against the scrapping of Education Maintainence Allowance. There will be a rally at Monument at midday, you can find out more here:!/event.php?eid=190975030918556

Monday, 17 January 2011


We are in the process of booking transport to the National Manchester Demonstration on the 29th of January.

Facebook Details for the Transport can be found here

Details for the day can be found here

It promises to be a great day. With huge marches in Manchester and London.

This coach is primarily for 6th Formers, and others with no other way to get themselves to Manchester, but all are welcome.

See you in Manchester!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Notes of Where Next after occupation meeting - Thurs 13 Jan

Over a hundred people joined this meeting on Thursday. With good representation from many schools, colleges, universities and a great representation from many trade union branches. Here's the notes... feel free to comment if i missed stuff off. Ed

What’s Next? Where now after the Occupation: students & workers open planning meeting
Thurs 13 January 7pm

Agenda stuff

1. 29 Jan demonstration in Manchester
2. 5 Feb proposed march in Newcastle with TUC
3. UCU strike ballot
4. Future Actions (to be discussed in small groups)
5. Other cuts discussion (to be discussed in small groups)
6. TUC demonstration in London - 26 march
7. Regular meetings
8. Reps for National Campaign (NCAFC) and student assembly
9. Announcements and AOB

Sarah proposed and agreed to chair / facilitate
Paul from Left Unity welcomed everyone and explained who LU were and housekeeping (drinks, toilets, exits etc)

Ground rules discussed and agreed:
Respect everyone’s opinions
Don’t be personal
Be concise, don’t repeat each other

Finally someone explained that by using “shaky hands” (waiving both hands in front of you) which was successfully used in occupation, then this means you can show agreement with another speaker and helps give an idea of consensus/ popular views within the meetng without need for lots of repetition.

Sarah introduced agenda

1. 29 Jan demonstration in Manchester
Paul (NUT) said NUT to try and get funding.
Pete explained Manchester demo (i.e was supported by unions, NUS and NCAFC alongside the demonstration also happening in London)
4 coaches so far (UCU and NUS in Newcastle, Sunderland coach and proposed coach from our group)
Ask local councilors who said they opposed cuts in Fees and EMA to make contribution
Unite (Paul) will donate money as well
Gateshead Unison will either put on coach or help fund
Email and on blog for details of all coaches
And collect all emails off people today
Proposed to get try and coordinate coaches from Newcastle (to leave from similar place and fill all coaches). Coordinate through this group.

2. 5 Feb proposed march in Newcastle with TUC
PSA / TUC have a rally at 1pm on 5 Feb at Newcastle Monument
Proposal to have a joint student and worker demonstration through Newcastle to finish at TUC rally that this group could coordinate.
Dave said was good to follow up from Manchester with an event here that more people could come
Need to have diversity of tactics not just same format of rally at monument, and include different actions
Also TU seminar on that morning should try and see if student / occ reps can be invited?
Make 5 Feb fun with drums and music (need volunteers from bands / musicians and contacts)
Continue to discuss in smaller groups on how to organise this.

3. UCU strike ballot
Ballot against attacks on uni and moving to business style of education
Ballot is about redundancy policy and pay offer.
We should support it. And any action, perhaps solidarity occupation!
Tell lecturers we support them. Consider Walkout?
Join your union if you are a student and work part time
Both FE/colleges and HE/Uni’s ballots on cuts
Agreed to send immediate message of support to UCU
Proposal to have occ on day of walkout from all places of learning
Do we tie ourselves to UCU ballot or occupy anyway
Proposal message of support to all teachers unions not just UCU
Cross delegates from students and unions I.e. Send both/ buddy system
Dave H 226 Trade Unionists on NE Shop Stewards Network, this list can be used to invite to our meetings to share information (website) to ask for support i.e. EMA demo. Use the network!
Proposal using 5 Feb as a day to discuss action following Union ballots, i.e. student / worker planning meeting after the TUC rally
Propose for volunteers for buddying and doing exercise

4/5. Future actions and other cuts

After proposals from Elle and others agreed to divide into small groups of Union and students reps (i.e. Unison/ Unite and interested students) Rowan suggested we call these Worker-Student Councils. These groups then came up with actions and reported back

Notes of small groups:

Group 1 (Unison/ Unite / Students):
• Link up students issues with local cuts and attacks i.e.Leaflet estates like Byker against closure of old peoples resource etc. Each group could take a different area
• Star & Shadow skills share weekend of 12 Feb?
• Grey matter newsletter - get off ground again (also help with leaflet production)
• NUS day of actions and EMA walkout Tuesday and wed 19 and 26 January
• Northumbria action society setting up
• TUC demo will have a direct action on same day / meltdown collective: operation dual power
• Our group will help plan building 5th Feb march
• Coordinate mailing lists and structuring anti cuts network

Group 2:
• 31st Jan protest (?)
• 5 feb buildng and get publicity for then
• Providing support for school students being victimized
• More teach ins
• Reachout as wide as possible, not one group, this group is broad and democratic group
• Pressure on John Collings (head of Childrens Services in Newc) and youth council
• Protest on day of bail hearing? 30 feb?
• Elections in May? Possible target
• Joint protest at council meetings in march when set budget

Group 3:
Defence campaign
• inform about democratic rights to oppose victimisations
• More banner drops
• Support students who loose EMA i.e trade unions
• Twitter account to be used on day of action
• Posters and stuff on bus stops

Group 4 (UCU, GMB and students)
• Day of action when VC sets fees
• Talk to lecturers in your place of study and posters to support action
• Get SUs to support workers action
• Press release to support day of action
• Walkout and banner drop on day of strike
• Better communication network
• For NUS get lecturers to support
• Ballot starting 6 feb for 2 weeks/ strikes mid march
• Strong network to coordinate with others for those more isolated I.e regional network. GMB organise people who lock doors.
• Action on day fees are set

Group 5
• Get sunderland up for action like Newcastle
• Join up in sunderland
• High schools feel isolated. Talks at schools with Trade unions speaking as well.
• Debates in school
• Not be linked to specific party or front
• Build walkout on 26 January and promote 19 Jan action outside Parliament

Group 6
• Monday 24 Jan day of action against welfare cuts/ workfare private companies.i.e action 4 employment
• Info on Claimants Union meets Tuesday 25 Jan at St johns church hall. 11am email:
• EMA a link between students and claimants!
• What happening about EMA
• Against Selling off forests and climate camp
• International womens day event at Kings Manor – 8 March
• Tyne and wear LU discussing health cuts here on 10 feb 7pm with Jim cousins ex MP, at St John’s Church Hall
• Tax avoidance protests this sat?
• PSA petition and PSA stalls at 5pm in Newcastle on Thursday 20 January, at monument
• Network X event in Manchester this weekend on direct action
• Student against cuts this sat at 2pm, monument and every 2 weeks
• Walkout on 26 January

Group 7
• Disabilty allowance cuts / link with wider campaign
• Action about academies – only one school become one in Newcastle so far
• Where next about academies.
• Set up blog for broad anti cuts movement
• Use these meetings and email address to link up and build

Group 8
• More students (and trade union) delegage to Public Service Alliance groups and union branch meetings
• Talks at 6th form college and fees
• Support students victimised for taking part
• Citizenship in schools as focus
• School students unions
• Helping to coordinate this happening schools
• Linking with parent teachers association (PTA) and board of governors
• Rowan volunteers to pass on info on national school students unions and help a bit! Contact Rowan via blog/facebook/ these meetings

All notes and ideas to put on blog
Sign up to ideas
All brought back to next meeting
Urge all other ideas to be put on the blog
New blog to be created
Next meeting after Day of Action on 26 January (venue to be confirmed, here of Star and Shadow)

How to contact us / each other
“Newcastle Occupation”

List of Events:
15 January – 2pm protest against cuts and tax avoidance, Monument
(and speak out against Racism 12 – 1pm)
19 January - EMA protest, 4pm, Monument
22 January – National Campaign (NCAFC) conference London (see facebook Newcastle Occupation for discussion / volunteers of reps)
26 Janaury – EMA protest / walkout and Our meeting
29 January – National Demo in Manchester and London
30 January – Student Assembly
5 Feb – TUC local rally (and our march to be organized)
5 Feb – Counter EDL march, Luton
26 March – TUC demo in London

Other announcements:
Bust cards available on way out
Rota to read emails.
Folders for each email group on workers student councils
Next meeting wed 26 Jan
Fortnightly meetings!
Here at St Johns or Star and Shadow
See Events on blog spot

Friday, 14 January 2011

PRESS RELEASE - Chi Onwurah MP not informed about PMs visit to Newcastle

Today a spokesperson for Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central, revealed that David Cameron's visit to Newcastle had been suppressed from even his colleagues, which is against parliamentary protocol.

This worrying revelation comes just hour after a peaceful protester was arrested on a charge of criminal damage, however we can find no witnesses to corroborate this and the police refuse to comment on the case.

A demonstration was held at Etal Lane Police Station, Westerhope, Newcastle at 6pm and is continuing in support and solidarity of Ewan Brown.