Sunday, February 27

Sign the petition to support NUJ member James Fallah Williams

NUJ members in Manchester have set up a petition to campaign against attempts by the UK government to deport fellow NUJ member James Fallah-Williams.
Despite living, studying and working in the UK since he fled Sierra Leone at the height of the country's civil war in 1998, James's work permit was revoked in October 2010 after bureaucratic errors in his application for indefinite leave to remain was refused, and a fresh application for asylum was refused.
During his time in the UK, James has worked as a journalist writing articles critical about the political regime in Sierra Leone and about corruption in the country. His writing led to threats against him which led James and his supporters to fear for his safety if he was forced to return to Sierra Leone.
Chris Rea, Chair of NUJ Manchester Branch, said: "This is a clear human rights issue and we believe James must stay in the UK.  We are urging all NUJ members to support him by writing to their MPs and asking them to intervene with the Home Secretary and Immigration Minister on James' behalf."
Whilst awaiting a decision on his asylum claim James has been working as a volunteer at the Leigh Community Integration Project, providing support and skills training for migrants and local people in Leigh. He has since worked as an advice worker with Manchester Refugee Support Network.
Michelle Stanistreet, Deputy General Secretary of the NUJ, said: "NUJ members throughout the union can help James in his fight to remain in Manchester, the city he's made his home since fleeing Sierra Leone - please offer James your support by signing the petition."

How you can help:
You can sign the Online petition here:

Text messages of support to James on 078 0058 6533.
Write to your MP asking them to raise James' case with the Home Secretary Theresa May.
You can contact your MP through the website:
Email/Fax/Write to Theresa May, Home Secretary
Ask her her to reconsider UKBA's decision that  James Fallah-Williams should leave the UK. You must include his Home Office Ref: number F1100038 in all correspondence.

Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF

Fax: 020 7035 4745
Please let Branch know of any Emails/Faxes/letters

Thursday, February 24

Birmingham Against the Cuts Demonstartion Saturday 26th February

10 Reasons to demonstrate on Saturday 26th February

12.00 Assemble Cathedral Gardens - Off Colmore Row
Why should you come to the demonstration on Saturday against the council cuts? There are lots of reasons, but here are 10 of them:

1) Job Losses - 2,450 council posts will be cut this year (7,000 over 3 years) and 5,000 posts privatised (making it easier to cut funding in the future).  Birmingham already has an unemployment rate twice the national average and cannot afford to lose thousands more jobs.

2) Adult Care Services - 11,000 people who currently receive care having been assessed as having "substantial" care needs will no longer be eligible for home care, day care or residential care and will lose their care services.  Overall, more than £33million will be cut from Adult Care Services, affecting older people, those with learning and physical disabilities and people with mental health problems.

3) Youth Services - £3m will be cut from Birmingham Youth Services budgets.   Such a cut would close over 40 youth projects (more than 2/3rds) across the city and deprive young people and communities easy access to trained and qualified youth workers.

4) 1,600 jobs to go at Heart of England Primary Care Trust (PTC), affecting NHS services in this city, and this is only 1 of 5 PCT's to serve Birmingham so there will probably be more job losses to come.

5) Neighborhood Office and Citizens Advice Bureau closures - CAB has been temporarily saved but neighborhood offices are still under threat.  Both of these provide vital and free advice on financial, legal & housing problems and council services.  As unemployment rises, these services will become more important.

6) £10 million cuts in Children's Social Care, affecting "looked after" children, some of the most vulnerable children in the city

7) £1.3 million cuts in library services, £1 million cuts in grants to arts and £1.25 million cuts in funding for Museums with entry charges "almost decided".  Ikon Eastside will be closing, and this will probably just be the first of many cultural venues in Birmingham to shut down.

8 ) Pay Cuts and terms and conditions reviews for 26,000 council staff including refuse workers who have already been on strike.

9) £1.6m less spending on Community Safety Partnership, and reduction in funding for West Midlands Police Force (2,200 jobs to be lost, including 600 officers) will see rising crime

10) There are alternatives. False Economy maintain a nice collection of alternatives, including closing the tax gap, a robin hood tax on the bank, green jobs for growth and other solutions to the deficit problem and banking crisis that will not involve huge spending cuts in vital areas.

Of course there are many more than 10 reasons to march on Saturday against the council cuts.  These cuts will affect every person in this city, and every person has their own reason to come.  Tell us why you are coming by commenting below.

The demonstration assembles at 12 noon, Birmingham Cathedral, St. Philips Place.
We will have a short march around Birmingham City Centre, followed by a rally with the following speakers:

Bishop Urquhart (Bishop of Birmingham);
Lee Barron (CWU);
Trudy Allen (PCS);
Roger Jenkins (GMB);
James Smith (UCU);
Roger McKenzie (Unison) and
Caroline Johnson (Birmingham Against the Cuts).
Keep a check of our activities at

Tuesday, February 22

Birmingham and Coventry NUJ goes international!

The beauty about blogs is how far they reach and how quickly it happens. We have only been going a couple of weeks and already getting hits from the United States. Expect hits from eastern Europe and the far east to follow!

Monday, February 14

March for the Alternative on 26th March

The TUC March for the Alternative will take place in London on Saturday 26th March. This is likely to be the biggest march and rally the TUC has organised for many years. Will you be there?

Coaches are being organised from many parts of the country, including Birmingham and Coventry  Local union branches and regions have already booked coaches and these will be advertised on the False Economy website here:
You can also add events and testimonies to the site here:

The March for the Alternative starts at 11am on Victoria Embankment between Temple Place and Blackfriars, and it is expected thousands of protesters will then make their way to Hyde Park for a rally organised by the TUC in which other ways of saving money will be outlined.     Please note most Intercity rail services are already fully booked on that day. However, a number of coaches have already been booked and more could be made available if enough people are interested in travelling to London.   Contact if you want to travel down on the day.

Welcome to the Birmingham and Coventry NUJ blog

Welcome to the new blog for members of the National Union of Journalists Birmingham and Coventry branch. We shall be publishing information on this blog on a regular basis so do visit whenever you have a spare minute. You can also become a follower of the blog.
If you have information relevant to other members of the branch send a short report - and photo if appropriate - to me and I'll get it up on the site as soon as I can.