h.Energy: Sustainable Herefordshire Week

h.Energy kicked off early last week with a flash mob in Hereford High Town. Over 100 people surprised shoppers by breaking into song. The organisers were equally surprised when many of the shoppers joined in for the encore. (click here to see footage of the flash mob)

Now in it’s third year, h.Energy has over 100 events taking place throughout the county. Describing itself as “a week-long county-wide open exhibition of events and activities about living more sustainably in Herefordshire.” Their mission is to “demonstrate that using renewable local resources, avoiding waste and reducing energy usage is just common sense”.

Climate change is something everyone is aware of but not everyone feels they are in a position to do anything about it. It’s also not a priority for everyone. If you are facing housing, employment or social problems, getting your recycling sorted isn’t going to be top of the list. Hopefully this years h.Energy will be more accessible to people outside of the ‘green ghetto’. They have certainly made the effort to involve more families with the ‘Ladybird Safari’ of events. A full list of what’s happening can be found here.

Organisers are hoping that this years attendance will exceed that of last year when 2500 people took part. With a diverse group of participants from schools, farms and community groups to shops, restaurants and charities, every aspect of sustainability is covered. Transport, energy generation, food, energy saving, recycling, community empowerment, local economy, permaculture and alternative finance, the list goes on.

So even though the h.Energy folk aren’t yet pushing for the revolution that would rid us of the climate damaging profit driven economy, it’s certainly something to get involved with and support.

h.Energy runs from 13th-21st October, download thier brochure here


Labour have no clue about Leominster

Prior to the general election, the Labour party has announced the candidate they will be standing for the Leominster constituency, a previously unheard of Neil Sabharwal. And as per usual, Labour have got things disastrously wrong. Sabharwal, a Cambridge graduate who studied economics, is a former financial analyst for global company Ebay and lives in London where he continues to operate within the business world, presumably in between fighting the  struggles of the working man.

Sabharwal’s selection only further proves how out of touch Labour is with the people of this country, especially in rural areas such as ours. Leominster faces poor education from the sub-standard Minster College, people facing  unemployment after Skymark shut down, plus possible job losses in the future at Cadbury, so Labour select a filthy rich Cambridge graduate from the City, a guy who has no idea how people in a small market town live their life, and what problems they face. The only alternative Leominster faces is the dominant Conservatives, headed by the obnoxious Bill Wiggin, a man so insultingly ignorant of real life that he called workers fearing for their jobs “whingers”. Given the choice between a ranting toff and a wealthy City boy, it’s no wonder that fringe parties such as the BNP are winning votes from disillusioned working class voters who believe that none of the major parties care about them.

Rather than wanting to make Leominster and the surrounding area a better place, for politicians like Neil Sabharwal, this election is just one big job interview.

Wiggin is a Wonka

Tory MP for north Herefordshire, Bill Wiggin, ended up in the chocolate after labelling concerned Cadbury workers as ‘whingers’.

In relation to Cadbury’s takeover by Kraft, he said “Who wants to hire a whingeing workforce when you can have a positive, up-beat one?” He then offered to meet with workers for a ‘photo shoot’, but the invite was turned down.

The takeover of the company by US firm Kraft has led to concerns about possible job-cuts and outsourcing. Union reps at Cadbury’s Marlbrook factory near Leominster have written to Bill expressing the anger of the workers.

Unite’s Jennie Formby said: “Cadbury’s workers are campaigning to protect jobs–it’s not whinging, it’s standing up for their livelihoods, homes and families.”

Bill refused to apologise, instead he blamed the unions. He had also refused to sign an early day motion calling for Cadbury to stay independent and has previously condemned Unite’s campaign to keep Cadbury jobs inBritain. He later responded by saying: “The prospects of my constituents under Kraft’s ownership could be jeopardised by Unite’s ill-judged campaign.” Yeah right Bill, and imagine the jeopardy Cadbury workers at Marlbrook would be putting themselves in if they sat back and did nothing!

Last year Wiggin, who went to Eton with David Cameron, was embroiled in the expenses scandal after claiming £11,500 on a phantom mortgage. His attitudes towards constituents and Cadbury workers alike are appalling and show he doesn’t give a damn for the people he supposedly represents.We support the Cadbury workers and their very valid concerns and believe the people of Herefordshire deserve much better than this slimy individual.

“Better Than Buttons” – Cadbury Workers Demo

StrikeAngry Cadbury workers have demonstrated outside the company’s Marlbrook plant after they broke a three-year pay agreement.

Around 25 staff held placards outside the firm’s factory near Leominster saying they deserve ‘better than buttons’.

Cadbury recorded profits of £112 million at the end of July and a 12% rise in sales.

“This is about opportunism and trying to exploit people’s fears at a time of global recession, despite the fact they’re doing fantastically well,” said David Glasper, union convenor at Marlbrook.

Workers have been balloted for strike action and the result should be known by the end of August. Hereford Solidarity League give them our full support; good luck guys.

Elsewhere workers are also taking action to save their jobs. Following the occupations by Visteon workers across the UK, new struggles are taking place across the country and some are getting a result.

Victimisation of workers at a Lincolnshire oil refinery for involvement in an earlier industrial dispute resulted in 51 redundancies, triggering further action; around 1,200 workers walked out on wildcat strike with the messages of ‘sack the bosses, not the workers’ and ‘no to 51 job losses–share out the work’.

The strikers refused to back down in a strong show of solidarity with the sacked workers. This clearly worried the contracting bosses, who responded by sacking 647 striking workers, one of the most large scale sackings in recent times; a further 3,000 workers from eight other sites across the country walking out in support.

Mass rallies were held at the site in Lincolnshire, with workers burning their dismissal notices in a sign of protest against their treatment, and blocking roads around the site.

The bosses backed down: the 51 workers originally made redundant were given their jobs back, as were the 647 workers sacked for their sympathy actions. One Lindsey worker told the Hereford Heckler: “it would appear to be a small victory in a much larger struggle, a view echoed by other lads I have talked to.”

More recently workers for an Isle of Wight wind turbine company have occupied their factory in protest at Vestas’ plans to axe 625 jobs.

The workers have received huge support from environmentalists and trade unionists around the country and are calling for the company to be nationalised.

As we go to press, the workers are continuing to occupy the factory despite Vestas being granted a possession order from Newport County Court. One worker said they will ignore the order and stay for as long as possible.

Meanwhile five people have started a rooftop protest at Vestas’ Venture Quays building in Cowes.

The four men and one woman have hung banners reading: “In solidarity with the Vestas workers” and “Fight for green jobs”. We take our hats off to them.

This sort of action is set to be repeated across the country in the coming months, with the same uncompromising message – the workers united will never be defeated!

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