Thursday, 8 October 2015

Calling Fife

Letters to the following individuals from Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) have been returned recently marked as 'not known at this address'.

The likely explanation is that the people concerned have moved without informing the A4ES office of their new address.

So if anyone knows of their whereabouts, please ask them to phone or email the A4ES office to update their details.

1.June Ansell

2. Linda Clark

3. Shona Hogan

4. Jacqueline Jack

4. Euphemia McDougall

5. Yvonne McLean

6. Jane Stevens

Action 4 Equality Scotland

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Here are contact details for Action 4 Equality Scotland - including a new telephone number . 

Action 4 Equality Scotland
10 York Place


Phone: 0131 659 9958

As I said the other day in relation to Fife, please don't flood A4ES with email or phone enquiries about settlement offers, as this just slows down the whole process of getting information out to clients.

Fife Council Update

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Great news for all Action 4 Equality Scotland clients in Fife - the tribunal hearing against Fife Council which was scheduled to start today in Dundee has been 'sisted' or postponed until 28 February 2016.

Because after a series of last minute negotiations, A4ES has managed to reach a settlement agreement with Fife Council and a detailed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has now been signed between the parties.

Settlement offers from Fife Council will be issued in due course, but this is a big administrative task and will take perhaps four weeks to organise - no letters will be issued by A4ES until this task has been completed.

Once settlement offers have been received and checked detailed letters will be sent out to all individual A4ES clients in Fife.

In the meantime, please don't flood A4ES with email and phone enquiries as this just slows down the whole business of getting further information out to clients in Fife - any further news regarding the timetable will be reported on the blog site.

A big thanks goes to the 'usual suspects' from the A4ES negotiating team who were involved in the last ditch settlement talks including Stefan Cross QC and Karl Bromley. 

A special mention also goes to Sarah Gilzean from HBJ Gateley who stepped in at short notice (as regular readers know) and did a splendid, professional job by all accounts, in relation to both the MoU with Fife Council and the preparatory work for the Employment Tribunal.

And to Daphne Romney QC, of course, whose work behind the scenes seems to have convinced Fife Council that they were on a hiding to nothing if the tribunal hearing went ahead as originally planned.

**Stop Press** (02/09/15)

Action 4 Equality Scotland is pleased to announce that arrangements have been agreed for HBJ Gateley to take over the representation of A4ES clients, with immediate effect, as far as future work at the Employment Tribunals is concerned. 

HBJ Gateley is a large and highly respected law firm, one of the most successful in Scotland, and the arrangements with A4ES follow on from those made previously with Stefan Cross Solicitors, Fox Cross Solicitors and Fox and Partners Solicitors.

I have personal experience of working with HBJ Gateley in the past and I am confident that A4ES clients will continue to receive the same first class level of service they are entitled to expect. 

More information will follow in the days ahead, but as I said in an earlier post to the blog site there is no need for A4ES clients to do anything at this stage - other than to sit tight.

Breaking News (17/08/15)

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I've had a few enquiries today from readers who are a bit confused about letters they have received from Fox and Partners Solicitors which is ceasing to practice at the end of this month.

The position is that Fox and Partners (FAP) is the latest in a line of law firms which Action 4 Equality Scotland has instructed to represent our clients interests at Employment Tribunal hearings, the others being Stefan Cross Solicitors and Fox Cross Solicitors. 

So all former equal pay clients of FAP continue to be clients of Action 4 Equality Scotland and A4ES will take responsibility for any further legal instructions that may be necessary, as far as future tribunal proceedings are concerned. 

As such, A4ES clients do not need to look for new solicitors themselves and, in fact, they should not do so as any new solicitor will charge for their services.

In other words there is no need for A4ES clients to do anything at this stage, other than to sight tight because A4ES will be in touch as soon as there are any developments to report.

So, please spread the word and let other A4ES clients know the score, especially those without access to the blog site via the internet. 

Breaking News (17/08/15)

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Everyone at Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) is sorry to hear that Fox and Partners Solicitors (FAP) is ceasing to practice from the end of August 2015, due to internal issues within the firm and personal matters on the part of Carol Fox.

Not least because the relationship between A4ES and FAP has proved to be very productive in recent times with landmark settlements being achieved in North Lanarkshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council, for example.

Regular readers of the blog site will be aware that the work involved in representing A4ES clients at the Employment Tribunals was carried out previously by Stefan Cross Solicitors and Fox Cross Solicitors before being transferred to FAP in 2010/11.

Action 4 Equality Scotland is in the process of making arrangements for this work to be carried forward in a way which maintains the high quality of service our clients have come to expect over the years.

So at the moment there is absolutely no need for A4ES clients to do anything other than sit tight and await further developments.

In the meantime we would like to place on record our appreciation to the staff at FAP and our best wishes for the future.

One thing is for sure though: Stefan Cross and Mark Irvine will both be continuing the fight for equal pay in Scotland, a campaign which they and Action 4 Equality Scotland first began in August 2005, a full 10 years ago this month.     

How to Protest

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The protesters who disrupted the Suffragette film premiere in London deserve a 'gold star' for achieving their objective (lots of free publicity) without using violence or any kind of intimidation.

Not just that, they managed to elect a positive response from some of the 'stars' attending the event which only added to their cause, and having made their point they went on their way, job done.

Contrast that with the Jeremy Corbyn supporters who threw things and spat at delegates and journalists attending the Tory Party conference in Manchester recently, a minority of idiots admittedly.

But then again that's all it takes to 'give a dog a bad name'.
Protesters disrupt Suffragette film premiere in Leicester Square

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BBC London

Activists campaigning for greater support for victims of domestic violence have released smoke flares and lain across the red carpet at the premiere of the film Suffragette.

The protesters chanted "cuts kill" and "dead women can't vote".

The red carpet was temporarily blocked but the event at Leicester Square in central London later resumed with some women escorted away by security guards.

The Met Police said it had not been asked to attend.

'Suffragette tactics'

Janelle Brown of Sisters Uncut, the group behind the demonstration, told BBC London: "We came to the Suffragette premiere today because the struggle is definitely not over. Dead women can't vote."

Image copyrightOndrej Rafaj

She went on to claim: "Two women each week are killed in Britain because of domestic violence. Austerity reduces women's access to legal aid and support services. The most drastic cuts were to specialist services.

"We're a direct action group and we know that was the tactic the suffragettes used too."

Suffragette tells the story of young East End laundry woman, Maud Watts, played by Carey Mulligan, who becomes an activist fighting to gain women the vote.

Set in 1912-13, it shows how the women in the suffrage movement attacked property and bombed post boxes to make their voices heard.

The cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep, who were among the stars attending the gala screening in central London.

That Was The Week

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So, the Conservative Party conference ended as it began with the Tories shamelessly stealing Labour's best clothes and parking their tanks all over the grassy lawn that once belonged to Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair et al.

Political reality also came crashing in on Jeremy Corbyn as the Prime Minister denounced the new Labour leader, understandably, for his dumb comments about Osama bin Laden, as if there were some moral equivalence between the murder of thousands of innocent people (including many Muslims) on 9/11 and the world's most infamous terrorist being brought to justice.    

At the end of the week the contrast could not be clearer - the Conservatives, as a party of government, get on with making the tough decisions while Labour is reduced to shouting from the sidelines.  

Jezbollah Corbyn (31/08/15)

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Jeremy Corbyn's 'jezbollah' tendencies have been laid bare with the revelation that the London Labour MP described Osama bin Laden's death as a "tragedy" in an interview with Iranian state television back in 2011. 

Apparently while speaking to the Iranian government's Press TV channel in 2011, Jezza said:

"This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy."

Now if you ask me, the attack on 9/11 was a terrible crime not a tragedy, cold-blooded murder on an industrial scale involving innocent civilians, people of all religious faiths and other with no religious convictions at all.  

Jeremy went on to portray himself a fully paid up member of the Conspiracy Party with comments suggesting that the US may have faked bin Laden's death:

"We can only guess that there is something fishy here. Either Bin Laden wasn’t there, therefore there has to be a story. Or, the pictures ... show something else​." 

Yet in less than two weeks time Jezbollah Corbyn will be unveiled as the next leader of the Labour Party and while that's funny in some ways it's also a very sad reflection on the scale of Labour's decline.

Murderer Brought to Justice (02/05/11)

The news that Osama Bin Laden has finally paid for his crimes will bring a sense of grim satisfaction to all, except the extreme religious warriors or 'jihadists' who seek to follow in his footsteps.

The murder of thousands of innocent civilians, including many Muslims it should be recalled, in New York on 9/11 is the most obvious example of Bin Laden's casual disregard for human life.

Contrast that with the behaviour of US special forces earlier today who spared the lives of Bin Laden's wives and children, as they stormed the 'safe' compound in which he was hiding in North Parkistan.

On a smaller scale and much nearer to home - a young British woman, a young Muslim - is facing the same poisonous cocktail of religious extremism, hatred and intolerence.

Shanna Bukhari is a young Muslim woman from Manchester who hopes to be the first British entrant to win the Miss Universe competition.

Now you can say what you like about her ambition, but the point is that she has received death threats from Islamic extremists, for daring to take part in what amounts to a beauty/fashion show.

So what?

So did Kate Middleton when she was a student at St Andrews University and no one batted an eyelid about the behaviour of the country's possible future queen.

To my mind a young woman like Shanna Bukhari represents the future of Islam - a future where young women have the right to be educated, hopeful and ambitious.

And that's the best answer of all - to vile murderers like Bin Laden.