URGENT MEETING!

Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 7.30pm at the Sidney Walter Centre in Sussex Road to plan a March opposing the government’s austerity measures.

Worthing Solidarity Network very much welcomes the call from the TUC for a mass demonstration against cuts and austerity on October 20th in London, under the banner "A Future That Works".

In Worthing and West Sussex, as across the UK, the cuts are now hitting working people and their families hard. More people than ever before are angry about what the Coalition are doing, and trade unions can give a lead in uniting people fighting cuts, job losses and privatisation of our important public services. 

Around 400 people from the Worthing area attended the great "March for the Alternative" in March 2011, mobilised by local unions and the local anti-cuts group. We believe it should be possible to get even larger numbers from our area to join the protest this time around. To achieve this it will be essential for everyone to join in with local community groups, including those representing young people, pensioners, the disabled and other vulnerable groups hit hardest by austerity. 

It is important to get the ball rolling now on the necessary arrangements and on plans for publicity etc, so this meeting for all interested parties to come together to form an 'O20' committee, on Thursday 2nd August at 7.30pm at the Sidney Walter Centre in Sussex Road.

Amongst those who have initiated the meeting / will be attending, will be Unite, PCS, CWU Worthing Solidarity Network and a concerned public. We hope you can also attend and help make  "A Future That Works".

8pm, Tuesday, 28th February
Beechwood Hall Hotel, Wykeham Road, Worthing

Join us for news and discussion of anti-cuts and solidarity campaigns. Three main topics this month:

- SAVE OUR NHS: Defeat Lansley's Bill / National Demo 7th March / latest on fight to keep Southlands open.

- END WORKFARE! The government and major employers are on the run after just a few weeks of campaigning against their plans for free labour which undermines pay and conditions and cynically exploits the unemployed.  How can we keep up the pressure locally?

- STRIKE FOR FAIR PENSIONS FOR ALL. Almost one million public sector workers are set to strike again on March 28th against the government's pensions robbery. Come and hear the latest developments and discuss plans for community involvement in and support for the strike - the success or failure of the strikes will have an impact on everyone suffering from austerity.
We'll also look at how rank-and-file electricians have fought and won against a vicious group of construction employers - despite the recession!

See you there? All are very welcome.
This Saturday, 11 February outside Poundland, Montague Street Worthing , WSN supporters and Occupy Worthing activists will join up to protest against cheap and free labour – why not come and join us!

As most people tighten their belts, Poundland have announced another year of record profits, raking in £31.7m, a whopping increase of 34%, in 2010/11, boasting of their ability to compete in 'turbulent economic conditions'.

It's little wonder that Poundland bosses find themselves in the role of cheerleaders for austerity. As times get harder for the rest of us, they make even more of a fortune out of selling cheap. And they have lots of practice at impoverishing their workers - company records show the average yearly wage in Poundland is an abysmal £10937.03.

The shameless scroungers who run Poundland already rely on the state to top up these miserable wages with tax credits and housing benefit, rather than doing it themselves from their ever-increasing profits. Now they have leapt to gobble up another handout, in the form of free labour from the government's workfare programmes.

Fortunately, there has been a backlash against Poundland's corporate welfare dependency, resulting in a lawsuit from Cait Reilly, a woman from Birmingham who was forced to abandon her volunteer work in a museum in order to stack shelves at Poundland for no pay.

Brighton Benefits Campaign calls on Poundland to stop their reprehensible exploitation of the unemployed and the poor. We will continue to campaign against Poundland until they abandon the use of workfare and instead employ people to do the work they need, on a proper wage.

“Poundland takes on disabled people in a deal with DWP via Mickey Mouse scheme. The claimant only works for 4 weeks including anti-social hours, stacking. The claimant is told at the beginning of the placement that there will be no job. My friend finished his placement and was immediately replaced by another disabled person. This is exploitation.”
(A former Poundland dole slave, speaking to Boycott Workfare)
WSN went to support the public meeting in Shoreham February 3 aimed at defending Southlands Hospital from the going under the knife and losing its Harness Block (which it is rumoured could be sold off to a housing developer). About 150 people attended, so the meeting had to be delayed whole a big enough room was found. There was great public anger at the Trust's proposals. Amid much patronising smoke-and-mirrors from the assembled overpaid NHS bigwigs about "community care", local people, Southlands workers and retired clinic staff got up one after another and demolished the arguments of the *public servants* in front of us, demanding that Southlands remains a local community hospital with much-needed in-patient beds. The issue of stress and low pay for hospital workers was raised too. When a WSN supporter said the cuts were taking place in the context of the Health & Social Welfare Bill and of a piece with the Tories' plans to cut and privatise the NHS, local MP Tim Loughton angrily responded that this was a "load of rubbish" and was "politically-motivated". Lots of people took WSN leaflets and signed up to the meeting organisers' contact list for further action in defence of Southlands.  

Due to the misinformation peddled by the right wing press there’s a change to our public meeting 31 January.

The revised theme for this meeting will be:
DEBUNKING THE BENEFITS MYTH


** PUBLIC MEETING **
BEECHWOOD HALL, WYKEHAM ROAD, WORTHING
8pm,Tuesday 31st January 2012
SCRAP THE 
WELFARE REFORM BILL

* Busting the benefits myths *
* Are bankers the real scroungers? *

Panel of national trade union and campaign guest speakers inc:


* SUE MARSH – welfare & disability rights writer & campaigner                     * TONY MORRIS – local sheltered housing campaigner
* Speaker from PCS union representing Job Centre workers
* Local people facing welfare cuts


People on benefits are not living mansions with 2 swimming pools and 5 jags in the garage as the ConDems supporters make out. Welfare claimants are already struggling to feed themselves and their kids following this governments mishandling of the economy and this struggle will be magnified with upcoming/proposed changes in welfare and housing benefits. More on the right hand side bar.
As we said in our brief review of the past year's events just before Xmas (repeated below if you missed it!) -2011 saw growing resistance in the UK  to cuts and austerity and the rule of the '99%' - as across the globe.  In 2012 WSN intends to carry on supporting every single local anti-cuts campaign and workers' dispute, and be prepared to initiate campaigns too if the need arises.  We want to continue exposing the tax dodgers and pushing our alternative to cuts, showing  international solidarity with our counterparts fighting back across the globe, and to oppose the poison of racism if it rears its ugly head again in our town. 

Lots of new people have got involved in WSN over the past year too, and we want to keep ensuring that WSN meetings and activities feel as open as possible to everyone - from seasoned activists to those feeling pushed to do something for the first time.  All of this requires being well organised, and ensuring that everyone who wants to can play a part and have their say. 

We are therefore holding our first WSN Annual Meeting this month:
- to look at the big picture and sort of issues we're likely to be facing this year (with an invited guest speaker)
- to work out our priorities for local campaigning over the next few months
- to elect a group of people to help run WSN (we don't like the word 'committee'!) who can take on specific roles in making sure from week to week that actions not talk are our main focus, and that what we do is as well organised and well publicised in advance as possible.
Your ideas for WSN's activities this year are very welcome.  Please let us have any specific proposals by midday on Friday 13th January at the latest so we've got time to print out copies etc. Proposals received in advance will get priority for debate, though if we have time we'll try to consider any proposals raised on the day.  These can be as simple or lengthy as you like (we'd prefer the former!), and can be about WSN's general 'policy' around certain issues, about specific initiatives or actions, or about how we run WSN.
We'll be looking to elect as a minimum:
- A chairperson
- A secretary
- A treasurer
- A media contact
- Online/social media coordinator
- Campaign coordinators (e.g. NHS, disability, etc.)
If you're brave or daft enough to put yourself forward for any of the above roles, again please let us know by midday on Friday 13th Jan so we can plan that part of the meeting.
Hope you can make it along to join us.  Please do pass on this invitation to any friends, family or workmates who might be interested.
Solidarity forever!
WSN

A long year of campaigning against Tory cuts and austerity measures draws to a close - WSN in 2011
Growing resistance in the UK has become part of inspiring global opposition to injustice and inequality - from the Arab Spring that unfolded in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond in January and February to the mass revolt against a bankers' Europe in Greece, Spain and Ireland, and finally the emergence of the 'Occupy' movement in many countries, drawing attention to the way the '1%' are robbing the '99%' blind.
WSN supporters, as we set out to do nearly two years ago, have continued to throw ourselves into the many campaigns against cuts, and into organising solidarity for workers beginning to fight back.  We have tried hard to get across our alternative to cuts - for tax justice and making the wealthiest pay their way.  The vast majority of Saturdays have seen a consistent and strong anti-cuts voice in Worthing town centre in the shape of the WSN stall.  We've campaigned around the closure of day centres, the withdrawal of County Council support for 4,000 adults with learning difficulties, the reduction of services at Worthing & Southlands Hospitals, the introduction of tuition fees and scrapping of EMA, the attempted privatisation of the NHS and the Royal Mail, and in support of many groups of workers taking industrial action.  We opposed attempts by fascists like the BNP to set up shop in our town and thus divert some of the anger about cuts in a racist direction.  And we've strongly supported the establishment, for the first time in over 20 years, of a Trades Union Council in Worthing.
In March, two months' hard work by WSN and local unions culminated in around 400 people from Worthing travelling up to what became an historic 750,000-strong TUC demonstration against the cuts in London - "March for the Alternative" - the biggest-ever show of public strength from trade unions in Britain. 
At the end of June, WSN worked with the PCS, NUT, UCU and ATL to organise a Trade Union family event in Steyne Gardens on the day of the first major strike against the ConDems - over pension changes.
And of course, just two weeks ago, on "N30", WSN played an important role in promoting an even bigger event in Worthing - the largest trade union gathering in the town in living memory - as three million public sector workers went on strike over pensions.  WSN worked succesfully to link the strike over pensions with other groups in our town under attack from the government - like young people, the unemployed, the disabled, and pensioners - groups who were all represented and spoke at the brilliant strike rally in a packed St Pauls Centre on the day.  The report on South Today TV News commented on how much community support there seemed to be for the strike day in Worthing!
All of this is done entirely by volunteers and on an absolute shoestring!  We'd like to thank everyone who's given some time up for WSN this year, as well as our trade union affiliates and donors, and those who have made individual contributions, however small - which help keep the anti-cuts material, and the case for our alternative to cuts, going out to the people of Worthing.  

There is no doubt a similar, if not even more busy, year ahead, with this government showing little sign of changing course.  We need to redouble our efforts, and above all we need a bigger movement against what our rulers are attempting to do to ordinary people.  The alternative could very serious indeed - at best, the Tories could take social provision in this country back to pre-1945 levels, and at worst their crazy economics and the greed of their banker and corporate friends could cause a double-dip recession that makes the 1930s look like a boom era.
So please - make a New Year's resolution to come along to a meeting or a stall, listen and contribute to the arguments, and get involved, in whatever way you can!