Press Release 03/02/2011: UNISON slams decision to ban march by Tory controlled Rushcliffe Borough Council
UNISON has commenced an appeal against Rushcliffe Borough Council, which has refused the union permission to use empty fields as a safe assembly area for a public march on 24 February against Nottinghamshire County Council budget cuts. The union has approval from the Police for the event, but is required to have a safe “point of assembly”.
Despite the land being vacant, and only used for overspill car parking for Trent Bridge cricket matches, the council claims that to allow permission might be seen as “supporting a political initiative”. The union believes the refusal to allow permission will be seen by local voters as politically motivated in itself.
Andy Belfield, UNISON East Midlands Regional Head of Local Government deplored the council decision:
“This should all be so straightforward. Conservatives in Nottinghamshire should be saying they will do whatever they can to avoid compulsory redundancies and they will make sure people have every chance to protest and have their say. Instead they are saying they intend to sack 1000 people they don’t have to, and they will try and ban people from peacefully protesting about it. It’s a sad day for the Tories in Notts.”
“Pensioners, services users, community groups and concerned local voters intend to take part in this march, and we need a safe point where people can assemble to reduce inconvenience to local residents and road users. The council must review its decision.”
The union has vowed that the planned march through West Bridgford will go ahead on 24 February 2011. The union will liaise with the police to identify an alternative point of assembly if the council will not budge. The union expects around 1,000 people to take part in the march, which will run from 11am to 12noon and end at County Hall.