Glasgow on strike over ccunciljob cuts

THE CITY OF GLASGOW is braced for a wave of strike action, as teachers, library staff and social workers plan protests over threatened job cuts.

For Glaswegians facing a council tax rise of up to 27 per cent on top of swingeing cuts in servrces, the disruption in schools and other services will be an additional burden.

Library staff in the city are already in the middle of a series of strikes, with a programme of one day stoppages closing most branches. Social workers have already decided to strike and several other departments are balloting on whether to take action.

The isSue is confused by the fact that the strikes target both the City of

Glasgow Council, but also at the Scottish Office. ’The action is over cuts in local government spending,’ explained lsobel McVicar, spokeswoman for public sector union Unison. ’Obvrously we are complaining to the council for implementing them, but only the Scottish Office can make a difference really.’

She hopes the disruption wrll wrn support for the unions’ cause. ’We are hoping people Wlll see the strength of feeling. Glasgow is being unfairly treated and this is gomg to affect everyone in the city. It isn't about making efficiencies basically if these cuts go through the council might as well just shut up shop.’

Although key budget meetings over

the next few weeks Wlll make the position clearer, it is expected the council Will have to lose 2000 staff members. The uncertainty has led to deep anxrety among council employees in all departments

The latest rumour to sweep the (It)! is that redundancies will target workers who live outside Glasgow lllSl. This was scotched this week by council insiders. not least because it w0uld be in breach of employment law. ’It looks as if it may not be legal to go down that path,’ one c0unCil member said.

Council spokesman John Keele added that there had been agreement between the unions, councd leaders and Glasgow MPs that the government should be

pushed to reassess the city’s situation. This week council leader Bob Gould will meet George Kynoch, the minister for local government in Scotland, to press their case.

However, time is short. Councillors have to set a budget, including cuts of nearly 9 per cent, by it March. ’We are already trawling for voluntary redundancies and early retirements,’ Keele added, ’It isn’t possible to cut £80 million without it having an effect on services and staffing.’

’Obviously strike action will affect services. The council is trying to do everything it can to highlight the fact that Glasgow is a special case,’ he added. (Stephen Naysmith)

Comic with a taste for Scotch pie

SCOTCH PIES MAY be off the menu for health conscious Brits, but they have inspired a new adult comic With a taste for satire and a Scottish flavour.

The Toxic Pie has been cooked up by three Scots students with veteran cartoonists Alex Ronald and Dave Alexander. Ronald draws Judge Dredd for 2000AD, while Alexander was behind the comic Electric Soup.

The five met through the Glasgow College of Building and Printing and a local cartoon club. They financed the first issue themselves at a cost of £600. The investment paid off, with issue one’s 1000 copy print run having all but sold out in comic shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh. A second ISSUe is planned for March.

Unsurprisingly, The Toxic Pie is stuffed wrth references to Scotland's favourite snack. The X-Flies strip in which two bluebottles investigate paranormal occurrences in a Paisley pie shop - is just one highlight.

Every comic needs a hero and Sad Spotty Long Haired X-Files Fanboy Exterminator fits the frame.

The scourge of those who ’want to believe’, SSLHXFFE is the creation of Edd Travers. An illustration student and founding pie-man, Travers uses his superhero to vent his frustrations with the comic scene:

'I'm SICk of guys wrth pony tails and goatee beards coming up to Alex asking him to draw Judge Dredd. Fanboys treat people like God just because they can draw well,’ he rants. (Peter Ross)

"3:5: 1%.": I ' '--- 5;: v_'_ . M NO FuESouMYPies/ .’ . . . 44,3

4 I'll! U81 21 Feb—6 Mar 1997

Edinburgh clean-up plan ‘unrealistic’

EDINBURGH CITY COUNCIL is to press ahead with a scheme to permit ’flyposting' on selected sites, despite claims that the system is a fudge which will please no one.

The aim is to provide arts companies with space to publicise their events legally, without causing an eyesore. However, even those within the council admit the proposal is flawed.

Ian Perry, Convenor of Environmental and Consumer Services at Edinburgh Council, is confident that the first columns will be built this Spring. ‘We want to create legal sites that any member of the public can use without fear of prosecution,’ he said.

The council has approved, in principle, a plan to provide twelve cylindrical concrete drums, modelled on those used in Paris. The sites, at an estimated cost of £24,000, include spots on Rose Street, Potterrow Court and Calton Road.

However, Councillor Perry admitted, ‘while I hope the columns will alleviate the problem of flyposting in Edinburgh, I’m not confident it will eliminate it.’

The problem, according to many venues in Edinburgh, is that the





columns will not be prominent enough. Lyceum Theatre press officer Clare Simpson said, ‘There is no point in putting up posters where they will not be seen.’

Scottish Opera’s head of marketing Roberta Doyle agreed. ’If we are going to follow the Parisian example we should do as they do and place columns in the city centre.’

Mr Miles Cooney, who has flyposted in Edinburgh over the last twenty years, suggests a Low Cost Advertising System (LCAS) as used in Dublin, where derelict property

is. ‘i W ‘l‘ g‘

Dublin: brightening up derelict sites

and building sites are legally used to display posters.

’In Dublin they paint hoardings and frame posters so they look smarter,’ he said. ‘What the council is offering is not a realistic option,’ Cooney added.

A spokesperson for the city’s planning department admitted the sites suggested were not ideal, before shedding doubt on the entire project: ’The problem could be solved for us. We haven’t the money to build the drums at present,’ she confessed. (Nick Morgan)

Students pin their hopes on lunch dates

A GROUP OF go-getting Edinburgh students, fearful of graduating to the dole queue, have gone on the offensive by inviting prospective employers to 'do Iunch'.

RealiSing that the days of the graduate ’milk round’ where employers headhunted students through open days and the career service are over, communications studies students from Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret College deCided to put themselves in the shop window, inviting 40 key public relations and marketing professionals to a networking lunch.

The students were able to rub shoulders with representatives from

some of Britain’s top companies, including Glenmorangie, Safeway, the Royal Mail, Standard Life and Scottish Television.

With graduate unemployment averaging 14 per cent, students need to be proactive in the jobs marketplace. according to Emma Wood, a PR lecturer at the college.

’Employers want students who take the initiative,' she said. ’This is exactly the type of event that catches the eye of employers. Even organising an event of this scale is valuable experience in itself.’

The consensus among the students involved was that the networking lunch would prove vital in their search for

employment after graduating. Just having a good degree is no longer enough to get ahead in PR, according to fourth year communications studies student Morna McDonald. 'I wanted to lift myself above other graduates that are equally as qualified as I will be,’ she said. ’Taking part in events like this is one way of getting noticed.’

David Forsyth, east of Scotland director of top PR company Beattie Media endorsed the students’ ploy, saying: 'It is tough for graduates to break into any industry today, this enterprising scheme will stand the students in good stead when they approach prospective employers.’ (Lindsay McGarvie)