Issue 1: 28th November 2022
A new voice for Wallasey
Winter’s arriving later than ever it seems, but slowly, inexorably, the days are getting colder. So many people making desperate decisions. Can I afford to turn the heating on? How long can I keep wrapping myself in coats and blankets? For many families, Christmas won’t be the same this year. Living standards are falling at a terrifying rate. Yes, there’s fear and despondency. But there’s also anger and resistance. This Tory government is more unpopular now than just about any government in my lifetime. The last chancellor gave a handout to the bankers in the middle of a cost of living emergency. The current one thinks that people on benefits are work-shy. People remember these things. On top of this, a huge wave of strikes, bigger, more determined, and dare I say more militant than we’ve seen for many a year.
My name’s Linda Wall. I’ve recently ended my term as Secretary of Wallasey Labour Party. Looking around me, it feels like there’s never been a more important time to organise in our communities. That’s why I’m starting the Wallasey Free Press. The WFP will take the form of an email newsletter. To become a subscriber, please complete this form, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please get in touch if you have any local events to publicise, if you’d like me to give a platform to your group or campaign, or if you’d like to set up a video interview.
Enough is Enough
And if you want to kickstart some action, what better way than to stage an Enough is Enough rally. Inspiring speakers and a real sense of purpose are practically guaranteed. I hope to see many of you there.
If you have any free time on Wednesday morning, Enough is Enough invite you to join them on some picket lines:
Jacobs take the biscuit
The 750 workers at Jacobs biscuit factory in Aintree are now two weeks into an all-out strike. This hasn’t just come about overnight. It’s the result of five years of bully-boy management, of attacks on terms and conditions, and health and safety concerns being ignored. GMB’s H&S officer Paul Holleran told Liverpool Echo “that the Aintree site was the ‘worst factory he has ever inspected'” with staff “working in ‘extreme conditions’ with high levels of flour dust, excessive heat from large ovens and repetitive work for long periods. Despite ‘many complaints’ from union members, he said nothing is being done to ‘address the real issues'”.
Management’s final pay offer was 4.25%, and even this had strings attached. The strike actually began in late September, before escalating to an all-out dispute. The GMB’s Tim Collins tells us that “the company said that if an agreement wasn’t reached by 14 November, then 2022 negotiations would stop, there would be no backpay and nobody would get a pay rise. It’s this ultimatum that’s led to the current all-out strike.” Management have been trying all kinds of tactics to break the strike, but there’s no question that the strike is hurting them.
The strike is all day every day. It’s hard. The strikers are facing a really difficult Christmas. But they are absolutely determined to win, to secure a decent pay rise and better treatment at work. According to Tim, the strike has transformed the mood – “The company has broken the factory and damaged relationships but the strike has brought everyone together again.”
Please support the strike fund – https://www.gofundme.com/f/jacobs-bakery-all-out-strike.
Cost of Living summit
Local services are coming under huge pressure, the council’s budgetary plans have been blown apart by rising inflation, and the situation is only likely to get worse in the coming weeks. On 16th November Wirral council held a “summit meeting” which brought together representatives from various sectors, including Magenta, Wirral Foodbank, Wirral Place, Citizen Advice Wirral, and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. Council leader Janette Williamson was quoted as saying “This was an important opportunity for us to listen to our partners and hear about the vital work being done in Wirral to help the people of the borough. It also allowed us to better understand how we can support each other to continue delivering the help and assistance so many across the borough, unfortunately, increasingly need.”
“We made a few phone calls to local schools and were shocked to discover the number of children affected. In one school alone up to 50% of the kids arrive at school having had no breakfast. Members of the New Brighton Coastal Community Team and other concerned local residents have decided to try and do something about it. In the first instance we are going to fundraise to bring some Christmas cheer to as many local children as we can who would otherwise miss out… When Christmas is over we plan to continue our fundraising and hope to provide Breakfast packs to local schools to hand out to kids whom attend having not eaten.”
This is the fundraising page, all donations welcome.