Pensions and public sector dominate in TUC debatesOn 21 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Pensions,equal pay and public sector issues dominated the 136th Trades Union Congress,held last week in Brighton.AlanJohnson, the new secretary of state for work and pensions and a former tradeunion leader, announced that employees were to be given more power to control company pensions schemes.Hetold the TUC that the Government would create powers to ensure half of pensionscheme trustees were nominated by members of that scheme. At present the levelis a third.Aftermonths of speculation, Johnson admitted that ministers had no immediate plansto raise the state pensionage.TUCgeneral secretary Brendan Barber welcomed the Government’s pensionannouncement and claimed it as “another victory for people at work”.The TUC called for compulsory contributions from employers and for the linkbetween the state pension and average earnings to berestored.Meanwhile,Mark Serwotka, generalsecretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, won a standingovation when he described government plans to cut 104,000 Civil Service jobs as”disgraceful butchery”.Serwotka warned the Governmentthat it was leaving itself with too few staff to carry out services and”doing a British Airways”. The TUC voted to carry out co-ordinatedcampaigns and linking up on industrial action. The PCS will ballot for anational strike on 5 November.Prospect,the union representing professional workers damned the Government for “dumbing down” the CivilService and said there was a steady haemorrhaging of professional talent in theservice, particularly in scientific and technical expertise.TheNHS also came under scrutiny, with TUC delegates asked to condemn theintroduction of performance related pay (PRP).Publicsector pay came under fire, when Heather Wakefield, national secretary forlocal government at Unison, revealed that there were 300,000 part-time localgovernment employees earning less than £6 an hour. “Twentyper cent of the workforce is living on poverty wages,” she told a fringeevent on skills pathways, held by the Employers Organisation. By Penny Wilson Related posts:No related photos.
Buffalo based quartet Aqueous continue to impress fans with every move, playing some of the best live performances that captures the group’s unique penchant for songwriting. The band will continue to capitalize on that effect, as they just kicked off an extensive fall tour and will release a brand new album, Best In Show, next Friday October 14th.On Best In Show, the quartet expertly displays their unique ability for meticulously crafted arrangements with soulful lyrics and a dynamic musical range, while maintaining their signature dual rock guitar onslaught, anthemic choruses, melodic synth lines, and a tight rhythm section that always gets the party going. Guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist David Loss speaks to the excitement captured on Best In Show, saying, “Although Aqueous is primarily a live touring band, I feel that we all work very well in the studio environment; you can be creative in different ways and I like that the possibilities are endless. Personally, recording ‘Best In Show’ was a unique experience because I got to really explore my role on keyboards more than I ever had previously, and it was cool to challenge myself like that, and also to utilize some classic instruments to capture the sounds I was hearing just right. Ultimately, if someone had never heard Aqueous, I’d definitely give them ‘Best In Show’ because it showcases so much of what we have to offer as a band.”Each track on the four-song EP showcases a diverse and powerful side to the band’s ever-evolving sound. “I really like the song selections on this EP, they encompass the many facets of the band’s sound,” said bassist Evan McPhaden, “We touched on soul, pop, prog, dance and rock which makes for a really fun and enjoyable listen.”With Aqueous out on the road and Best In Show coming out shortly, the band has offered up a very first taste of the new release. We’re excited to offer up a stream of “Random Company,” which you can hear below.Now that rocks! Drummer Rob Houk shares his take on Best In Show, saying “As the new guy in Aqueous, I was enthralled with how much focus, dedication and care that goes into AQ’s studio process, and I couldn’t be happier or more excited with this album and to make music with such a great crew.”Guitarist Mike Gantzer says, “I’m really proud of the work we did on this project, it feels like a definitive step forward in our band’s sound, and the vibe is really great on the whole album, which I attribute to the fact that the vibe was really great while we were making it! Everyone in the band crushed their parts and stepped their game up, and I think the sound is really cohesive throughout. We had a blast and put our all into making Best In Show, and I’m psyched for people to get down with it.”Fortunately, fans can get down with Aqueous throughout the fall, as the band is touring extensively in support of Best In Show. The band will celebrate the album’s release with a two night run at their hometown Buffalo Iron Works venue, with support from BIG Something and Natalie Cressman on October 13-14 respectively. All tour and album details can be found on the band’s website, and a teaser for the album as well as the full tour schedule can be viewed below.
Big Butt is a 5,980-foot summit in Big Ivy, a section of Pisgah that’s home to the most old-growth forest and rare wildlife in the region. Big Butt offers stunning, panoramic views of Big Ivy’s hiking and mountain biking trails, climbing rocks, and waterfalls. Big Ivy also includes Craggy Gardens, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Mountains to Sea Trail.Unfortunately, Big Butt and nearly all of Big Ivy’s 13,980 acres may soon be open to logging, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed management plan.Big Ivy is a mountain biking mecca, fly fishing oasis, trail running hotspot, climbing paradise, and a hiker’s wet dream: dozens of cascades, creeks and swimming holes abound in Big Ivy, including 70-foot Douglas Falls.Big trees and big water abound in Big Ivy.Most of it will be opened to logging if the Forest Service has their way.A local, grassroots coalition called Friends of Big Ivy has teamed up with hiking clubs, mountain biking groups, fly fishing outfitters, climbing organizations, conservation groups, local businesses, and others to encourage the Forest Service to protect Big Ivy from massive logging.This Thursday, February 5, Friends of Big Ivy is hosting a public meeting with the Forest Service at 7 p.m. at the Big Ivy Community Center just outside of Asheville. Everyone is invited to ask questions and share concerns about the future of Big Ivy. (Also, there will be cookies.) Hope you can be there to speak for this rare old-growth forest and beloved hub of outdoor adventure.If you can’t make it, sign the Big Ivy petition here. More info: FriendsofBigIvy.org