Unions fight back


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Scottish trade unionists will be celebrating their solidarity and confirming their contempt for successive govemments' anti-trade union laws at next week's Miners Gala in Edinburgh.

While leading trade unionists admit that all is not too rosy in the workers‘ garden of the 1990s, they take heart from the way the Scottish People's March for Jobs and Democracy to the Tory Party Conference in April and the strike at Timex in Dundee have shown that working people are still prepared to stand together, at a time when there is much to stand up to.

‘It is not an exaggeration to say that we can now seriously begin to talk about whether free trade unionism actually exists in Britain any more.‘ says Bill Speirs. Deputy General Secretary of the STUC. ‘It is virtually impossible to take legal industrial action. Life for trade unions in Scotland is very difficult in 1993. thanks to a viciously reactionary series of Tory governments.‘

The question is not whether life is difficult for the unions but whether a

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role remains for them at all, as workers rights are subjugated to new rights for employers. ‘Trade unions are more popular now than they have been for many years.‘ Speirs points out. ‘We are continuing to operate in the workplace. representing people in grievance cases. ensuring that health and safety is observed. In Scotland we have concentrated on using campaigns that involve broad sections of the community as one way of coping with the legal strictures governing our activity.

‘The Miners Gala is about building on the traditional solidarity that mining communities have always shown and taking that as an example of how the wider community can organise itself. That is a very sober way of talking about what is actually a very fun day out.‘ (Thom Dibdin)

A rare appearance by Billy Bragg. a beer tent. speakers. creche facilities and other entertainments will add to the fun day out. The Miners Gala is on Sat 12 at The Meadows. Edinburgh. See Rack and Open listings for more details.

_ After hours?

The Glasgow licensing board meets this weekend to decide on the future of late-night city centre licences. The proposals being put forward by a working group established last year are to close all pubs and bars at midnight, close all discos at 2am and to have a ‘no admission after midnight’ policy at all discos. A similar scheme recently implemented in Paisley has resulted in one club closing with another on the brink of closure. There are fears that the effect of the changes would be to create more trouble on the streets.

The proposals have, however, been put forward in response to last year’s massive upsurge in violent crime, particularly knife crime. A police spokesman from the licensing department told The list that ‘this year’s Operation Blade has been a great success in helping to stem the figures and we want to keep that momentum golng’. But he also admitted that ‘another key factor is that it would help cut costs’.

James Coleman, chair of the Glasgow licensing board also voiced concern Labout last year’s upsurge in violent

crime and hopes that the proposals will help to change the figures. ‘At the moment there are a lot of people moving about the city centre late at night,’ he said, ‘and it’s very hard to police. We hope that with the new law people will leave pubs earlier and will have the choice of either going straight home or going to a night club. People will have to learn to get to clubs earlier and will hopefully have been drinking in fewer bars.’

But according to Hon McCulloch, the chairman of the Glasgow Disco Operators Association, the planned proposals are not going to help improve the situation at all: ‘With the new law things will get out of hand. At the moment clubs tend to empty out over the span of the night; in future at 2am all clubs will close and there will be a glut of people emptying out onto the streets. This itself could lead to an upsurge in violent crime. We also fear that the new law will bring about lob losses and possibly even some club closures.’

If the motion does get carried, the council say they will be monitoring it closely and may well change or modify it after six months, either extending licences again or pulling them back even further into line with English laws. (Joe lampard)

Hamilton takes over

Jim Hamilton, former assistant director of the Glasgow Film Theatre, stepped into the limelight as director of the Edinburgh Filmhouse this week, succeeding Jim Hickey who held the post for the past fourteen years. The 35-year-old - a native of Ayr and graduate of Glasgow University - began his cinema career at the Glasgow Odeon as house manager, a role he subsequently filled at the GET.

Hamilton takes on the lothian Head job at a key time in the Filmhouse’s history. Under the directorship of Hickey, the site was transformed from a derelict church into a two-screen complex with its own bistro, bar, video shop and gallery exhibition space. The debts incurred by the renovation work have recently been cleared, and there are now proposals to add a third screen.

‘It seems like a natural point for someone else to take charge and

perhaps change direction slightly,’ suggests Harnllton. ‘The kind of cinema i want to run is a cinema for the community in Edinburgh, whoever that community happens to be.

One of the new director’s main concerns Is to give support to under- represented countries and sectors of the community - particularly in the Lothian area - as he strongly believes that the Filmhouse’s funding and any subsequent profits should be ploughed back into film culture. ‘We get public money from this country and we’ve got European Community money, which is public money from Europe,’ he explains, ‘so, small scale stuff from Europe should be represented - it might be Catalonia, it might be the Basque region, it might be Scotland. There are so many people out there making films and videos on issues that affect their lives, and that has to be represented on screen in Edinburyl.’

HIV services out

Lothian Health Board will administer a 2.5 per cent cut in drugs and HIV services at a meeting of their directors today. Friday 4 June. Most of the reduction is likely to fall on the 24 ‘third party‘ projects those which provide services independently ofthe board who have applied for grants ranging from £8000 to £400,000.

‘Obviously there will have to be some reduction in the money that is made available. given that there's almost £200,000 less than last year.‘ said a spokesman for the Board.

One project which has already been affected is SOLAS. the centre which provides support and information for

people living with HIV. ‘We are quite definitely staying open.‘ emphasised project worker Richard Dietrich, although he said that all the staff are now on weekly contracts and the centre has lost its supply of free condoms.

The greatest concem of workers on AIDS-related projects is the reduction of funds for HIV prevention. ‘The number of people who are being diagnosed may well be falling. although I have yet to be convinced of that.’ says Dietrich. ‘What is being ignored. is that behind every person who has been diagnosed there are two or three who have yet to be diagnosed.‘ (Thom Dibdin)

Safe sex slip up

Sex may be safe with a condom, but people are still putting themselves at risk by using an oil-based product for additional lubrication or adventure during love-making, according to new research from Johnson & Johnson.

Oil-based products can destroy the latex from which condoms are made in as little as 60 seconds. Tiny perforations develop, reducing the condorn’s strength by up to 90 per cent. Although this deterioration is invisible to the naked eye, the condom no longer offers protection against HIV, sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies.

‘We have done quantitative research which suggests that 21 per cent of condom users have used additional lubrication, whether it is from time to time, or on a regular basis,’ says Ann Bradway of Johnson G Johnson. ‘As many as 25 per cent of them used something like baby oil, petroleum jelly, a moisturiser, or what we would describe as an unsafe lubricant.’

Johnson G Johnson have a vested interest in the research, as they

manufacture the watenbased lubricant KY Jelly. Following the findings of the research, the company are now trying to address young people of both genders who use condoms for safe sex. ‘Condom and lubricant use reflects a certain attitude to life and sex in general,’ explains Ann Bradway. ‘The openness to think about sexual lubricants is going to be higher in younger people.’ (Thorn Dibdin)

4 The List 4-l7 June 1993