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


  1. RE 5 FEB demo: My school has a samba group which Matthew 'Chooch' Ross conducts...could try to get them along?


  2. RE: 'High schools feel isolated. Talks at schools with Trade unions speaking as well.'

    Talked to Rowan about this at end of meeting, and have discussed with Zack about putting on a meeting of trade unionists, NCL occupiers and school students- a small delegation from each school in and around Newcastle would be good enough to start forging links. I also spoke to Mo Gas who set up the International Student Movement network and said he would be able to join us through skype to talk about the global dimension of the struggle for education too!

    Could anyone help us with a venue (St Johns would be good!), suggestions, or volunteer to come to the meeting. Email me at or post here.


  3. Will get in touch with me (ed whitby) via facebook and will try and help out.


  4. Hi all

    As a follow on we need to book venue and agree time for wed 26 Jan meeting. We could prob have star and shadow in evening but what time? 6pm or 7pm. We can only have St johns from3.30 till 5.30 but that may be a bit early? Ed