Blogging Off…

I’ve been running this blog for around six months now, but I’ve decided to put it on hold for the time being. I was hoping to link up with the local Trades Council and to get other trade unionists directly involved in the blog, but that hasn’t worked out. So, this blog will be closed until such time as other people express an interest in getting involved. In the meantime, if you’d like to publicise local events or actions, or you want to see what’s happening in Bristol from a socialist/trade union perspective, check out Bristol Red instead.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the Home Counties (PLAY LOUD!):

Love Music Hate Racism!

Working Class Representation Meeting

The Somerset Association of Trades Union Councils & National Shop Stewards Network (South West) invite all trades unionists to a meeting to discuss Working-class Political Representation.
7.45pm, Thursday April 15th
GWRSA (Railway) Club
Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, TA6, 5HA
next to Bridgwater rail station. Buffett supper and bar.

The SATC and NSSN (SW) want the meeting to be the start of a serious long-term discussion on trade union and working-class involvement in politics in this country, as well as an analysis of disillusionment and disenfranchisement from the whole process of parliamentary democracy, since at least 1997. Although the meeting has been called during General Election time, it will be neither a ‘hustings’ of likely candidates and parties, or a competition for the local working-class vote. Twelve west-country trades unionists have been invited to give us their thoughts on the subject for five minutes each, in two sessions. Although many respected trades unionists will be among these speakers, there are no ‘stars’,  and members of the audience will have exactly the same time to take part in the discussion.

Speakers are described from their trade union, to encourage a spirit of working-class unity from the start. We have invited members of most progressive political groups that claim the allegiance of the working-class: Labour Party, Labour Representation Committee, Trade Union & Socialist Coalition, Green Party, Socialist Party, Communist Party of Britain, Respect, IWW and the Socialist Workers Party.

Speakers:
Glen Burrows, RMT, Bristol; Carole Vallelly, GMB, Wiltshire; Liz Payne, Unison, Taunton; John Drake, Regional Secretary, FBU; Dave Osborne, Unite, Augusta-Westland, Yeovil; Donald McDougall, Unite, Honda, Swindon; Tony Staunton, Unite, Plymouth; Charles Graham, Unite, Bridgwater; George Goodenough, GMB, Hinkley Point; PCS Regional Cttee rep; Anne Lemon, NUT, North Somerset

Chair: Dave Chapple, CWU Bristol, Sec., Somerset TUC’s and Chair NSSN

The Bridgwater GWRSA Club is 100 yards from Bridgwater Station. If you are coming by train, turn right at the station entrance, walk past the car showroom and the club is the next building. Trains arrive from the Bristol direction at 6.48pm and 7.15pm; from the Plymouth/Taunton direction at 6.19pm and 7.30pm. Trains back in the Bristol/Bath/Swindon direction are at 9.33pm and 10.42pm, to Taunton/Plymouth at 9.52pm and 11.22pm. Car access from Taunton is via Broadway/Cranleigh Gardens/St John St; from Bristol is via Bristol Rd, Polden St, Wellington Rd. Car parking at the station.

For further details contact Dave Chapple, E-mail davechapple@btinternet.com

Bristol West MP Debates “Should British Troops Be In Afghanistan?”‏

Bristol Stop The War Public Meeting. Speakers:

Stephen Williams (MP for Bristol West), Jane Shallice (Stop The War Coalition – Author of ‘Afghanistan: Why WeShould Get Out’)

Venue: Friends Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE

Date: Thursday 25th March, 7.30pm

People are increasingly unconvinced by the reasons given by the government and opposition parties for continued British involvement in Afghanistan. The most recent BBC poll shows 63% of the public in favour of withdrawal of British troops. Despite this, the three major parties all support the occupation of Afghanistan. This is your chance to hear local MP Stephen Williams debate his support for the occupation.

Bristol Stop The War Meeting

A reminder for next week’s Bristol Stop The War meeting, plus info about report back meeting from Gaza convoy:

BRISTOL STOP THE WAR MEETING – 4th MARCH

Date – Thursday 4th March

Time – 7.00pm to 8.30pm

Venue – ‘Emporium’, 37 Stokes Croft, BRISTOL, BS1 3PY

Map: http://www.multimap.com/maps/?qs=bs1+3py&countryCode=GB

Bristol Convention Of The Left

Bristol Convention of the Left – a day of decentralised discussion in Easton Community Centre on the 13th March, 10am till 5pm.

Workshops will include: War and Peace (Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran); Defending Public Services; Latin America; Climate Change; Fighting Racism; Economic Crisis; and more.

Sponsors include UWE Unison Branch, CWU Bristol Branch, and many more organisations and inviduals.

For further info email leftconvention@gmail.com

Venue: Easton Community Centre,Kilburn St,Easton BS5 6AW.

Call Kraft & Cadbury to Account!

Unite’s website makes the following comments on forthcoming job losses at Cadbury’s Keynsham plant:

“Both Kraft and Cadbury evaded scrutiny of their plans during the takeover process, hiding behind secretive UK takeover policy to do so. This ensured that the workers were kept in the dark about Kraft’s plans for them – and remain so to this day.

But with confirmation last week that 400 Cadbury workers at the Somerdale plant are to lose their jobs, and further news that Cadbury directors continue to make millions from the sale by disposing of their shares, Unite says it is essential that those in charge are now held to account. One, former CEO Todd Stitzer, made £4.6 million in only a few seconds by exercising his share options.”

The union website focuses attention on the forthcoming Parliamentary scrutiny of the way the deal was conducted. Read more here.

You can read comments by Jerry Hicks criticising the official union response to the whole issue here.