All Wales Education Demonstration and Assembly

On the day the Welsh Government published its draft budget, including a 12.2% cut to education, Youth Fight For Jobs Wales has issued a press release announcing an All Wales Demonstration and Student Assembly on 21st and 22nd October respectively.

Students and workers in Universities and Colleges from across Wales will converge on the Senedd at midday on October 21st to take a clear anti-cuts message to the Welsh Government.

Jaime Davies, Trinity-St David student and national organiser of Youth Fight for Jobs Wales, said “The National Assembly for Wales has, for the second year in a row, announced plans to cut Wales’s education budget. Welsh students face higher fees, ALG and an already-diminished EMA are under threat, and Universities and Colleges workers’ pay and pensions are under attack. If students in other countries can study without fees, then so can we.”

Andrew Tindall of Aber Students Against Cuts, a student at Aberystwyth University who played a role in the occupation there against education cuts, said “The planned reforms for Higher Education across the UK are a neo-liberal attack on society, on education, and on the poor. Cuts to funding, the trebling of tuition fees for rest-of-uk students, and mergers of univeristies almost a hundred miles apart means students will be paying more for less course quality, less course diversity, less institutional choice.”

Last year, student demonstrations in Cardiff pressured the Welsh Assembly into retaining EMA.

Activists organising the demonstration have prepared a list of realistic, easily-implementable demands including:

  •   No to tuition fees
  •   Restore EMA to its full value and maintain ALG
  •   No to minimum wage discrimination; fair wages for all workers
  •   Guaranteed jobs at the end of an apprenticeship
  •   Create jobs, not dole and business handouts.
  •   No to public sector cuts; invest and nationalise to end the recession

Edmund Schluessel, who helped organise the student demonstrations in Cardiff, noted, “each of these demands has already been achieved somewhere in Europe. Why should students and young people in Wales, or anywhere in Britain, be given a worse deal than students on the continent?”

Youth Fight for Jobs is supported by eight trade unions including UCU, Unite, TSSA, RMT, CWU, FBU and PCS, and is currently undertaking the New Jarrow March, which ends in London on November 5th with a mass demonstration against government cutbacks and for job creation.

The All-Wales Demonstration and All-Wales Student Assembly are initiated by Youth Fight for Jobs & Education Wales and supported by Campaign Against Fees & Cuts Cymru (provisional committee).

Contact:
Ross Saunders 07766 460366 floss.saunders@gmail.com
Jaime Davies 07506 218523 jaimecrimson@hotmail.co.uk
Edmund Schluessel 07947 214169 eschluessel@gmail.com
Andrew Tindall andrew@andrewtindall.com

Youth Fight for Jobs: http://www.youthfightforjobs.com
National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts: http://anticuts.com
Facebook events: Demo | Assembly

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Video of the week: #1

Old one, but still good

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Writing Issue 2 of The Alternative

So, we’re well into the summer months now, which means Freshers’ Week is just around the corner, and with fresher’s week comes new faces, new challenges, and new opportunities.

With this in mind, we are beginning to put together the second issue of The Alternative, our anti-cuts magazine. If you would like to write something, let us know, and send an article (500 word limit) to aberstudentsagainstcuts@gmail.com by the end of August.

If you want to help out, but don’t want to contribute an article, you could help with editing by getting in touch on the facebook group or via the email address above, or you could donate money to help with the costs of publication – each copy of The Alternative costs around 50p or so to produce, so even small donations help!

With an article deadline of the end of August, we’re hoping to get editing and printing done at the start of September, in time for Freshers’ Week at Aberystwyth. So keep a look out!

 

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J30 Strike – Fight For The Public Sector

red badge logo for the June 30th StrikeThis Thursday, over 700,000 workers in education and the public sector, across several unions, will take to the streets as they strike over pensions. Alongside the unions, campaign groups such as UK Uncut, the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts ( NCAFC ) and the Education Activist Network (EAN), will be taking part in direct actions in solidarity with striking workers.

Dubbed the J30 Strike, this Thursday promises to be the largest scale strike in a generation, with a bigger national turnout than the March For The Alternative earlier this year.

It is important that we as students, wherever we are in the country, stand united with workers in opposition to negative Government reforms which damage education, damage the public sector, and leave workers under increased financial pressure, or without a job altogether.

With over 150 events scheduled across the country, there’s no excuse to not get involved. Here in Aberystwyth, a union rally will be held from noon, starting at the Morlan Centre.

This Thursday, stand alongside thousands of others and reject the cuts!

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Aber Students Against Cuts Condemn Fees Announcement

On Monday 9th May 2011, Aberystwyth University announced plans to charge the “exceptional” £9,000 tuition fee rate from 2012.

Aber Students Against Cuts strongly condemns the move as ‘a full-frontal attack on education’, that will put the future of the University, and the town itself, at risk. In university towns such as Aberystwyth, students are a major contributor to the local economy, without which local services would be lost. It is beyond doubt that any raise in fees will discourage students from attending university, dreading the prospect of starting their adult life up to £40,000 in debt.

The move, as part of the creation of a market in education is a regressive and damaging action that will undermine the fundamental principles of education whilst disproportionally hitting students from poorer backgrounds, as well as female and disabled students[1].

“Education is not a factory for producing workers. It is about broadening horizons, building knowledge and understanding, and helping students develop as a person, and as a society.” – A member of Aber Students Against Cuts

The economic arguments in favour of tuition fees have no sound basis in reality. Investment in education bolsters the economy, with a return of almost £3 for every £1 spent; and with graduates earning on average £100,000 more than non-graduates. According to a study by Universities UK, the HE Sector alone has generated over £45bn in UK output, whilst providing 2.5% of the jobs in the workforce [3]. Additionally, it is reported that the increase in fees, coupled with cuts to funding, will actually increase public debt.

Aber Students Against Cuts calls upon students, unions, and universities across the UK to reject the education funding reforms. The group advocates lawful direct action to oppose the ideological attack against education, public services, and society as a whole; and asks local unions to work together to take action as a result of Aberystwyth University’s announcement.

Aber Students Against Cuts is a horizontally-organised campaign group, consisting of students, university staff, and members of the local community, who actively campaign against public sector cuts, with emphasis on educational funding.


[1] Spending Review 2010 Written evidence submitted by University and College Union, Equality & Diversity point 38.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmsctech/writev/618/sr07.htm
[2] The economic impact of UK higher education institutions http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Documents/economicimpact3.pdf

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[EVENT] Stop the Cuts! Ceredigion Protest, 7th May

MARCH AND RALLY

NA I’R TORIADAU! AMDDIFFYNWCH GWASANAETHAU CYHOEDDUS CEREDIGION!

STOP THE CUTS!

DEFEND CEREDIGION’S PUBLIC SERVICES!

Aberystwyth, Dydd Sadwrn, Mai 7

Aberystwyth, Saturday, May 7

Siaradwyr/Speakers: Siân Wiblin (Wales TUC Cymru), Paul O’Shea (Unsain/Unison), Jill Evans MEP ac eraill/and oth

Ymgynnull ar ffordd mynediad Swyddfeydd y Cynulliad a Cyngor Sir Ceredigion, Rhodfa Padarn am 11.30yb.

Rali yn Castell Aberystwyth am 1.00yh.

Assemble on the WAG and Ceredigion County Council Offices access road, Rhodfa Padarn at 11.30am.

Rally at Aberystwyth Castle at 1.00pm. 

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[EVENT] Welsh Assembly Elections + AV Referendum, Thursday 5th May

The Welsh Assembly (photo credit: National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru )

The Welsh Assembly (photo credit: National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru )

Just a reminder that the polls open on Thursday for voting in the Election to the National Assembly for Wales (Etholiad i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru), as well as for the Referendum on the voting system for UK Parliamentary elections (Refferendwym ar y system bleidleisio ar gyfer etholiadau Seneddol y DU)

Oriau pleidleisio: 7yb i 10yh
Polling hours: 7am to 10pm

Ni ellir darparu papur pleidleisio i chi wedi 10yh, hyd yn oed os ydych yn cyrraedd yr orsaf bleidleisio cyn hynny.
You cannot be issued with a ballot paper after 10pm, even if you are at the polling station before then.

Information about the location of your polling station is on your polling card, which you should have received in the last few weeks. If you have not received a polling card, you may not be on the register and thus may be unable to vote.

When you arrive at the polling station, you will be given three ballot papers:

The first of these will relate to the referendum on electoral reform. It will ask you the question “At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead?”. You will be presented with two boxes: ‘Yes’, and ‘No’. You should mark one box with an ‘X’ to indicate your decision.

The second ballot paper will relate to the Election to the Welsh Assembly. It will show you a list of candidates standing in your constituency. You are to mark an ‘X’ beside one candidate.

The final ballot paper also relates to the Election to the Welsh Assembly. It will show a list of parties, and independents, standing in your region. This is the “top-up list” component of the AMS system used to elect Assembly Members. You are asked to mark an ‘X’ beside one party or independent.

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[EVENT] Election Hustings @ Old College, 7pm

Ceredigion yn Erbyn y Toriadau / Ceredigion Against The Cuts
LLWYFAN ETHOLIAD
HUSTINGS

ar CEREDIGION A’R TORIADAU
on CEREDIGION AND THE CUTS

gyda/with Richard Boudier, Elizabeth Evans, Lisa
Francis, Elin Jones, Chris Simpson.

NOS IAU, EBRILL 21,
YSTAFELL SEDDON, YR HEN GOLEG,
ABERYSTWYTH, 7-9yh.

THURSDAY, APRIL 21,
SEDDON ROOM, THE OLD COLLEGE,
ABERYSTWYTH,
7-9pm.

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A Month In Protest

It started with a march, and it ended with a march.

Students let their voices be heard throughout Old College

Students let their voices be heard throughout Old College

On 22nd February, students from Aberystwyth University took to the streets to tell those overpaid fools in management “No cuts!”. It was the “Imagine the Future” demo organised by our Guild of Students, which saw around 600 students taking over Old College. That day was also the day we set in motion a plan – Aber Students Against Cuts would occupy again. And so it came to pass, that on that day in February, A12/14 in Hugh Owen were occupied once more.

During our 32 days in occupation, we achieved a great deal. In entering dialogue with the Pro Vice-Chancellor, we made the university commit to improving transparency. We’ve raised awareness of the cuts and just how they’ll affect students, the university, and Aberystwyth itself. We’ve shown the hypocrisy from the greedy suits at the top, who take 11.8% pay rises whilst other staff take real-term pay cuts and face redundancy.

Occupiers prepare a banner for hanging outside the occupation.

Occupiers prepare a banner for hanging outside the occupation.

The Occupation also played home to the Free University, an idea that we’ve been building on since the November march in Aberystwyth. For several days, students of Aberystwyth could immerse themselves in an environment where they could learn freely in an open space, about anything from European languages to circus skills to sustainability. We’re eager to keep this going beyond occupation.

Of course, you can’t have an occupation without social events. Every night we’d be doing something, whether it watching films, or playing improvised ball games. We held a soiree, where dozens turned out to hear several live acts including bands, choirs, poets and more. We even had a barbecue, in the freezing cold, although perhaps unsurprisingly most of the food we cooked was vegetarian or vegan!

Alongside the occupation, Aber Students Against Cuts was working closely with local Unions in a manner of ways. Firstly, we ran for elections to the Guild of Students, where 2 of us were elected. We also worked with UCU to organise as Free University Public Forum on March 18th, the first day of UCU strike action in Wales, which saw hundreds of different people from all across Ceredigion come to Aberystwyth to hear local influential figures talking about the cuts and related issues. We then joined UCU on the picket lines on the 24th February to show our solidarity with our lecturers.

The local community comes together in the Free University

The local community comes together in the Free University

On March 26th, at 4am, we ended the occupation after 32 days to join the March For the Alternative in London. Aber Students Against Cuts worked closely with local unions including UNISON, NASUWT, and PCS to ensure that 300 people from the region could go to London and march in solidarity with 500,000 thousand others.

It is fitting that what began with a local demonstration of 600 people concluded with the largest national demonstration in almost a decade. The economic policies of the Coalition Government spell disaster for the public sector, for education, and for society as a whole. The cuts affect everyone, from a new-born baby in Aberdeen, to a 21 year old student in Aberystwyth, to a 78 year old pensioner from Hackney. We must and shall continue to oppose the cuts both locally, and nationally.

Aber Students March For The Alternative

Aber Students March For The Alternative

 

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Getting the old blog back together

Hey guys.

No, our blog’s not dead, we’ve just been using Occupied Aberystwyth instead. Since the occupation is finished now, and we’re continuing to build on the idea of the Free University, we think it’s time to utilise this one instead.

In the coming days and weeks you’ll see content magically appear as we reorganise our web presence.

Love,
ASAC.

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