Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Unemployment continues to rise in the West Midlands

Against the national figures, released today, which show a slight decrease in UK unemployment, there was no comfort for the West Midlands.  It recorded yet another increase.  Unemployment in the West Midlands has reached 8.8%, that is an additional 16,000 people made jobless.  

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON Regional Secretary said: 
“The West Midlands is one of six regions in the UK where unemployment is still increasing, so any talk of economic growth because of the very slight decrease in the UK average unemployment figures, would be very premature.   The Government need a long term plan, one of job creation to ease our economic woes.

The reality behind the numbers, 273,000 people now unemployed in the West Midlands, is yet more misery and suffering for thousands of families in our region and many others in the country, like Yorkshire and Humberside and our neighbours in the East Midlands. 

We are also experiencing another major issue, that of underemployment, there has been a substantial rise in part-time working as people are forced to take part-time jobs because they have no other choice, and we have record highs of young people either out of work or not in education or training – they are being are fast becoming the lost generation”.   

Unemployment and under-employment will remain the blight on our community and local economy without any real long-term plan for job creation."

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The fight to save North Solihull Sports Centre crèche

For the last 10 years the North Solihull Sports Centre and the Tudor Grange Leisure Centre have had crèches for people using the facilities.  This was continued when the centres were given to private sector company, Parkwood Leisure to run.  The staff at the 2 crèches were employed by Parkwood but a grant was paid by Solihull MBC to support the service. 

In 2012 the £35,000 grant to Parkwood was offered up as part of the Council’s savings.  It was proposed to entirely close the crèche at Tudor Grange and to only have the crèche at North Solihull open 2 mornings a week.

Solihull UNISON branch has worked hard to stop the closure of the North Solihull facility.  So far the branch has:
  • Presented a signature petition from crèche users to the leader of the Labour Group to present at full Council
  • Written to the Cabinet Member putting the case for keeping the crèche open
  • Met with the council officer responsible for the decision to close in order to understand his rationale and persuaded him see the affected staff to find out the truth and he discovered the information previously supplied to him about usage was inaccurate
  • Met with Leanne Byrne, fire-fighter, mum and crèche user.  Leanne had got considerable publicity in the Solihull News and was going to address the full council meeting on 16th October.  UNISON supported Leanne by helping to draw up a questionnaire for completion by the crèche users.  They also agreed to support any demonstration outside the October Council Meeting. Leanne is herself an FBU officer in Handsworth and so is able to draw upon that union for support in her campaign
This is a great example of how a UNISON branch has organised around an issue and involved the community in its campaigning.

The fight still goes one and the branch will be holding a demonstration outside the Council Meeting on 16th October.