Saturday, 18 December 2010

Tories on the back foot over Bright Start - Campaigning Works!

In the face of a determined campaign by nursery workers and the parents and kids, the Tories are in headlong retreat over their plan to close down Bright Start. They even pretended it was snowing to get the council meeting over with as soon as they could!

Latest bulletin below.

Save Bright Start News

Bulletin number 9


The council seem to be looking for a way out, we made the Argus front page and the TV news again. And we have a lot of reason to be more hopeful about our future than we did 2 months ago.

But our campaign is not over yet.

This is Alex Knutson, Unison branch secretary’s statement following the council meeting yesterday

“First of all, thanks to all who turned out, and another excellent front page of the Argus, extensive coverage on the regional news, and having the children present in the Gallery really does put pressure on our elected politicians !

The decision was that the Green motion, amended by Labour (to restrict the Tories even further) was agreed unanimously, with the Conservatives abstaining. This means, that the motion, as amended, goes back to Councillor Brown on the 17th January, for her to consider, along with her consultation results (we - parents, staff and children - need to be there!!! ). This puts very heavy pressure on her to accept the contents of the motion, and the verbally expressed views of the Green, Labour and Liberal Democrats last night, that there should be a working party to promote and develop Bright Start for the future. This is where the cases put forward by the parents and staff, that demolished the Council case for closure was so important, and effective. In my experience, and leaving aside the moral arguments for a moment, it is rare to be able to put forward such a clear plan for the financial viability of a service in the public sector, as, by definition, all services are subsidised to one extent or another.

Mary Mears ill-thought out intervention at the beginning, basically a co-op model, was a desperate attempt to confuse the situation and save the day for the conservatives. Nevertheless, we will have to "watch" this, as I am sure they will try to include it, as an option to consider. I will forward on a UNISON document that highlights the risks/dangers of the model, which can, initially, seem attractive, but in the long term offers no security to staff, parents or children - it is effectively, privatisation by another name.

We need to keep up the pressure on all the politicians to ensure this "jewel in the crown" stays where it is, in the Council.”

Where next for Bright Start ?

Meeting for staff and parents with Unison .Monday 20th 6pm

We will be meeting on Monday after nursery to discuss precisely what Thurday’s decision means and where we go from here.

Clearly there is still no reason for anyone to take their child out of Bright Start.

But we can’t relax either. Any “social enterprise “ or privatisation plan would eventually force most staff to leave as pay would end up being close to minimum wage like most other private nurseries.

Future Dates

Tuesday 21st December 6.30pm New Road to Madeira driveJoin the Save Bright Start giant scissors and families at the Burning of the Clocks procession

Monday 17th January 2011, 4pm We will be lobbying Vanessa Brown’s Cabinet Member Meeting . Committee Room 3, Hove Town Hall. If it goes ahead!

P&P Brighton & Hove Unison, Brighton Town Hall 291611

Vote “Vanessa Brown’s NOT Closing Us Down” for Xmas number One

No comments: