Courses postponed and jobs at risk as Tory cuts hit adult education

Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Minehead ‘Skills and Learning’ centre

Labour is calling on the government to reverse a drastic cut in funding that is threatening the future of adult education and vocational training in Somerset. People due to start courses this month have been told they won’t be going ahead as planned and there are fears that trainers could lose their jobs.

 The courses affected are community-based classes  run by SS&L -formerly Somerset Skills and Learning. A statement on its website says:   “Due to government funding cuts we are not accepting course enrolments at this time.”

Somerset Skills and Learning was part of Somerset County Council until 2015, when it was floated off as an independent not-for-profit company.  Just two years on, it appears to be struggling to survive. The cut by the Education and Skills Funding Agency means it has lost 40 per cent of its budget. Continue reading “Courses postponed and jobs at risk as Tory cuts hit adult education”

Labour Lives : No 2 STUART RIDEWOOD

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Zero Hours turned STUART RIDEWOOD from fence-sitter to active member of Bridgwater Labour. What does it mean to you to be a Labour party member?  This is the question Anthony Lipmann asked one of our younger and committed members, Stuart Ridewood.

Born in Taunton, educated at Haygrove Academy in Bridgwater, at 28 he finds himself in the vortex of Zero Hours contracts. Discharging between 80,000 and 120,000 cases in a 12 hour day his team at Morrisons are part of the legions of Zero Hours workers making life apparently easier for the consumer but with little prospect of personal stability, on-the-job training, or advancement. Stuart says he is not even worried so much about the money as the lack of respect in the system for a person’s work. Continue reading “Labour Lives : No 2 STUART RIDEWOOD”

Labour Campaigners out in force for North Petherton By Election

Saturday, 2 September 2017
Julie with some of the Labour canvass team campaigning in the North Petherton election

On Thursday 14th September there will be a by-election for a vacant seat on the North Petherton Town Council and already Labour supporters have been out there in force putting out leaflets and knocking on doors. In a 3 way contest Labour-Tory-Independent, the local Labour candidate is resident Chelsea Chadwick, already a District Councillor and also the Labour Party’s Womens’s Officer.

Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour members have been out every day canvassing for her. New member Julie Cordiner gives us her impressions. Continue reading “Labour Campaigners out in force for North Petherton By Election”

Labour Lives: No.1 KEN RICHARDS

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bridgwater is a Labour town. In this series we look at the people that have shaped our town and our party and the people still doing it today. To launch the series, current Town Council Labour leader Brian Smedley interviews five times Mayor Ken Richards.

When I first stood for council in 1990 Labour was at a low ebb. Having fought with ourselves over the nuclear issue in 1987 we were down to 4 councillors. And now even one of those was standing down and causing a by-election in the Victoria ward. It was the height of the Poll Tax and I was selected to fight the seat. On my first day I went to Brendon Road and was astounded to find every single window had a ‘Vote Labour’ poster in it. What a morale booster! And from there we went on to win the by-election with more votes than all the other 3 parties combined. Continue reading “Labour Lives: No.1 KEN RICHARDS”

Bridgwater TUC Calls for ‘Solidarity Hour’ as Argos Strike Steps Up a Gear

Sunday, 27 August 2017
Bridgwater Trades Unionists showing solidarity in the town centre

The 3 -week strike of 280 Unite members at the Huntworth ARGOS warehouse is still on, after ACAS talks broke up on Thursday without agreement.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council is asking all local trades unionists to show their solidarity over the next few days by helping give out the Unite strike leaflet  , helping give out the Bridgwater TUC solidarity leaflet, turning up for the Unite ARGOS strike picket SOLIDARITY HOUR on Tuesday 29th August from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and sending   messages of support/solidarity to the Bridgwater Unite ARGOS striker.

Local Labour members have been joining supporters on the picket line and in solidarity action in the Town Centre and outside the Argos store. Cllr Brian Smedley, Bridgwater Town Council Leader, said ” This strike is not just about workers defending their terms and conditions, which they have every right to do, it’s about the openess of the dealings between the management and workers and the potential of losing the Argos brand in Bridgwater and people may not be aware that Argos has been bought out by Sainsburys. I would urge Labour members to support the solidarity action and stick up for our town and its future.”

Continue reading “Bridgwater TUC Calls for ‘Solidarity Hour’ as Argos Strike Steps Up a Gear”

Argos Workers Strike at Bridgwater Depot

Friday, 18 August 2017
Unite the Union on strike at Bridgwater Argos

UK catalogue retailer Argos faces three weeks of strikes across its distribution network in a dispute over the failure of the company to negotiate a national agreement covering redundancy and severance packages.Unite, the country’s largest union which represents the 1,100 workers affected, warned that deliveries to customers will be severely hit.  Strikes by the warehouse staff began early in the morning of Tuesday 15 August and will continue until early in the morning of Tuesday 5 September.

Bridgwater Trades Union Council Secretary Dave Chapple urged local people to support the action saying “Unite ARGOS Bridgwater picket lines are from 5.30am till 3pm so try and get along to give solidarity from your union.” His call was backed by UNITE delegate and Bridgwater Labour Councillor Brian Smedley who said “Argos are clearly being unreasonable and  the Union is simply seeking guarantees about their members futures including relocation packages, agreed redundancy or severance terms and challenging future  attacks on their terms and conditions. They should be supported.” Continue reading “Argos Workers Strike at Bridgwater Depot”

Labour Protests Weston A&E Closure

Friday, 18 August 2017
Protests against Weston Hospital cuts

Weston Labour Party are calling on comrades across the South West for help in their campaign to protest A&E Closure in their town. A statement today read  “Bridgwater, Wells ,North Somerset, and of all Constituencies fighting the cuts to our NHS imposed by this Conservative Government. What happens to one of us today will surely happen to another tomorrow.”

Continue reading “Labour Protests Weston A&E Closure”

Food bank appeals for baked beans – as Tories push up child poverty

Thursday, 10 August 2017
Beanz meanz nourishment

West Somerset Labour Party says the unprecedented demand being placed on the local food bank is evidence that the Conservative government is driving up child poverty. Labour is calling for a halt to the roll out of the discredited Universal Credit, an end to the public sector pay cap and better help for families in need.

West Somerset Food Cupboard is asking local people to donate tins of beans, along with other non-perishable food, to help it to meet record demand from people who can’t afford to feed their families during the summer holidays. The food cupboard has given out more than a thousand food boxes and parcels so far this year.    Continue reading “Food bank appeals for baked beans – as Tories push up child poverty”

Labour Tells MP: Stop Employing Your Wife

Monday, 31 July 2017
Our Jammy MP

Labour says the  Bridgwater and West Somerset Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger should fall into line with new standards in public life and stop employing his wife to help him with his work in parliament.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority  says employing family members  is “out of step” with modern employment practices. It says the need for transparency and good employment practice outweighs the benefits MPs find in hiring relatives. Continue reading “Labour Tells MP: Stop Employing Your Wife”

Labour calls for common sense on toilets

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

 West Somerset Labour Party is calling on the government to use common sense to end the chaos surrounding provision of public toilets. And it says there should be an end to the charging of business rates for this vital public service.

West Somerset is one of many parts of the country where the future of public toilets is in doubt because of the squeeze on council budgets. Until this year the district’s toilets were owned and run by West Somerset Council.  But, faced with a financial crisis, the council decided it couldn’t afford to run them. The buck was passed to towns and parishes. Continue reading “Labour calls for common sense on toilets”