Thousands rally for pay equality

Glasgow is seeing its biggest equal pay strike in decades as 8,000 march on George Square.

Hundreds of schools, nurseries, and other local government organisations are striking due to a long-running dispute about equal pay for women.

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GMB General Secretary Tim Roache with striking workers at Glasgow City Chambers

Although Glasgow City Council has said the strike is unnecessary, GMB and Unison workers unions note a distinct lack of progress in negotiations over the pay issue.

The problem has arisen from a pay and conditions scheme introduced by Glasgow City Council in 2006. The scheme means that due to differing work conditions, workers in female-dominated industries like teaching, catering and cleaning are receiving up to £3 an hour less than workers in male-dominated industries like refuse collection.

Gary Smith, the Scottish secretary of GMB, spoke to us about the march in Glasgow:

“The Glasgow Women’s strike is the biggest ever strike over sex discrimination and equal pay. 8000 women have downed tools and brought large parts of the city to a halt. This is a magnificent display of solidarity amongst the women of Glasgow.”

Other industries which are unaffected by the pay dispute – or on the other side of it, such as refuse workers – have also been striking to support the female marchers in Glasgow.

GMB European Officer Kathleen Walker Shaw told EN4 News:

“The strike action and demonstration has met with widespread public support in Glasgow, Scotland, the UK and internationally with messages of solidarity pouring in from public service workers across the world.”

These messages included a speech from Rosa Pavanelli, the general Secretary of the 20-million-strong PSI Global union:

Councillors in Glasgow reiterate that there is no need for the strike. Council Leader Susan Aitken spoke to the BBC, stating:

“I’m not entirely sure why this strike is taking place. Negotiations have been continuing. We’ve made considerable progress in a number of areas.”

Over 12,000 claims have been made to the council to alert them of pay issues caused by the 2006 scheme. After pay increases and payouts for backdated claims, the issue could ultimately cost between £500 million and £1 billion.

Lawyer from Netflix’s ‘The Staircase’ visits Scotland

 

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David Rudolf, Lin Anderson and Donald Findlay QC discussed all things ‘The Staircase’ at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Photo credit to Vicky Tait.

 

David Rudolf, the criminal defence lawyer who represented Michael Peterson during the true crime series, ‘The Staircase’, visited Glasgow to give a talk.

The audience at Glasgow’s O2 Academy gave David Rudolf a very warm welcome as he walked onto the stage with a Scotland-themed gift bag. The applause resembled something you might expect to hear at a rock concert or a popular comedy show, not for the entrance of a criminal defence lawyer. However, the world’s obsession with true crime documentaries such as ‘Making a Murderer’ and ‘The Staircase’ has resulted in a fascination with court cases and the people behind them.

‘The Staircase’, released on Netflix in June 2018, tells the story of Michael Peterson, a writer from Durham, North Carolina, who was accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen, in December 2001. She was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her home and although Michael Peterson denied killing her, the prosecution persuaded the jury he was guilty and he was charged with murder in 2003 after one of the longest trials in the state’s history.

In 2011, it came out Duane Deaver, who conducted the blood spatter analysis for the prosecution, had provided misleading results during Peterson’s trial and exaggerated his level of experience. As Deaver’s evidence was detrimental to the jury’s decision in 2003, Peterson was released and placed on house arrest. In 2017, he entered an ‘Alford plea’ (a guilty plea signifying the defendants recognises there is sufficient evidence against him/her, but can claim to be innocent), meaning he was sentenced to 86 months in prison, which he had already served, and was therefore free.

David Rudolf, who was joined on stage by crime writer Lin Anderson and advocate Donald Findlay QC, indulged fans of the show by discussing how ‘The Staircase’ came to be, ‘junk science’ and the evidence used against Michael Peterson in the trial, the differences between American and Scottish criminal justice systems and of course, the famous ‘owl theory’.

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Fans queuing outside the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Photo credit to Vicky Tait.

As David Rudolf recounted his experience representing Peterson, the conversation flowed between the three experts, and as they compared and contrasted the different systems in place in Scotland and the US, it became clear Anderson and Findlay, alongside the audience, were enthralled by the struggles Rudolph faced during the case.

The lawyer spoke about the ‘incompetence’ of the prosecution and how it seems they were sabotaging Peterson’s case from the outset. When Peterson was a columnist for his local newspaper, he often criticised the local authorities, which led to a significant amount of speculation on whether the prosecution was prejudiced against him.

Findlay stated he would expect a crime scene to be meticulously and carefully examined by police officers if the case were to have taken place here, Rudolf described how the scene of the crime was treated in Peterson’s case.

“There were different people coming and going without authorisation, people were constantly walking back and forth through the crime scene and actually stepping over Kathleen Peterson’s body,” he said.

”Literally, the crime scene was completely trampled over.”

Rudolf discussed his admiration for the ‘not proven’ verdict which exists in Scottish criminal courts, but not American ones. This verdict occurs when there is not enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt whether an individual committed the crime. He wished it was an option in American courts, because ‘it is a more truthful way of dealing with things.’

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Fans of ‘The Staircase’ had the opportunity to ask David Rudolf questions about the famous true crim series. Photo by Olivia Hill.

Although the ‘owl theory’ didn’t feature in the documentary, it has been heavily discussed on the internet since the series’ release. The theory states Kathleen Peterson was attacked by a barred owl which subsequently led to her death. There is a significant amount of evidence that supports this, including the lacerations found on her scalp, the owl feather found in her hand and the small dots on her face that resembled those caused by an owl’s beak. Rudolf discussed the theory in depth and explained he is more in support of it now than he was at the time of the trial:

”In 2003, there was no evidence to support the theory, so I thought it was completely ridiculous.”

”But now there is evidence to support the fact that people do get attacked by barred owls. You can go on YouTube and there are videos of it happening,” he added.

During his world tour to talk to fans about ‘The Staircase’, Rudolf wants to convey an overriding message for the audience to take away with them. He outlined the importance of transparency and always asking questions, saying:

”It is an honourable thing we do here and we can’t do our jobs until we know the truth Don’t always believe what you are told and always ask questions.”

”I get to talk to you and show you these problems I have carried with me for 40 years. To get real change we need all of you. Get out there and spread the message.”

Home crowd at the Hydro: Kevin Bridges Review

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Fans gathered at the SSE Hydro for the 14th night of Kevin Bridge’s sell-out tour. Credit to Guy Percival.

“That’s my sermon for the Sunday crowd!”–mild Kevin Bridges spoilers to follow. 

I recently went to see Clydebank comic Kevin Bridges on night 14 of his 19 sold out dates in a row at the SSE Hydro as part of his Brand New tour.

Selling out the nations biggest venue, 19 nights in a row is an achievement enough, but beyond that – after 3 sell-out UK tours – Kevin Bridges is still really funny.

In his warm Glaswegian brand of observational comedy, Bridges tackled a range of topics from Brexit and Trump to social media addiction and simply ordering Chinese food. Playing to his home crowd, he related international events to the sketchier of characters everyone in Glasgow, or Scotland for that matter, will know all too well.

None of this is to say that Bridges only goes for the topical, or dances around the fact that he is by this point a household name. Refreshingly, he talks a lot about the fame and fortune he has enjoyed, and how inconspicuous it makes him when trying to do things as simple as go for coffee in Glasgow’s West End.

And with that his persona has changed, he’s not really Clydebank anymore, he’s Byres Road. Years of success and a change of environment haven’t stopped Bridges from picking apart the human condition in his signature style, both as he sees it in Glasgow’s people and in world events. If anything, I’d say he’s getting better.

Despite going on his 14th night, there was still a buzz and sense of excitement in the crowd, and that is not something I’d expect Bridges to lose anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

Beast from the East no match for determined NHS Scotland staff

Although the Beast from the East caused havoc for many across Scotland, a new report has shown that NHS staff were not harmed from treating almost nine out of 10 patients in target time.

A red weather warning was issued in parts of Scotland when icy blasts hit the country with snow; but that didn’t stop NHS Scotland from seeing – and either admitting, transferring and discharging A&E patients within the targeted time of four hours.

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Image credit: Getty Images

Although this still falls short of the Scottish Government’s targets of having 95% of patients seen within this time, Health Secretary, Shona Robison, was full of praise for the “tremendous effort” put in by the hospital staff.

She said:

“In the face of the red weather warning, NHS staff worked tirelessly to ensure A&E departments continued to run with almost nine out of 10 patients admitted, discharged or transferred within the four-hour target.

“This was a tremendous effort, and thanks to staff across the NHS who have experienced their busiest winter in a decade and continue to go the extra mile to give people the care they need.”

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Red weather Warning is issued for Central Scotland as the country is hit by the Beast from the East. Feb 28 2018 Image Credit: SWNS

Despite the extreme snowfall, the performance of A&E staff on A&E waiting times increased from the previous week, when a lesser 87.5% of cases were dealt with in four hours.

Ethel Hardie, a Community Psychiatric Nurse in the Aberdeenshire area, said that she is amazed by how her team stepped up during the bad weather.

She said:

“Most community teams stepped in to help each other during these times, often staying additional hours past their finishing times, or people who live close to hospital coming in on days off to cover.

“It never ceases to amaze me despite the poor wages, nurses remain dedicated to their patients with little thanks.”

However, despite the efforts put in by NHS staff, some nurses felt that they were being forced to travel in unsafe conditions to get to work.

The community nurse added:

“I think it’s a disgrace that we have to use our annual leave if we are unable to get to work due to weather conditions.

“In this day and age we should be able to use this as paper work day, or work from another facility like teachers do.

“Hours logged could be monitored via computers.”

Even though staff struggled to get to and from work, the Health Secretary remained positive about the performance of Scotland’s health services.

She said:

“Hospitals saw incredible pressures this week with staff struggling to get in or out of work and patients unable to get home, and this level of disruption will take time to recover.

“However, our A&E departments are still the best performing in the UK, as they have been for the past three years, thanks to our record investment and increased levels of staffing into our hospitals.”

Karen Mitchell, a District Nurse also from the Aberdeenshire are, said she believes that the commitment from NHS staff was the sole factor in keeping NHS Scotland running efficiently.

She stated:

“The beast from the east caused havoc for the NHS across the UK.

“With hospital appointments and operations cancelled, the resourcefulness and resilience of staff ensured patients were cared for throughout.

Staff from Glasgow Royal Infirmary spent the night at the hospital to make sure there was staff there at all times | Image credit: Evening Times

“Community teams were faced with dangerous conditions in remote areas to reach patients – sometimes on foot –  who were vulnerable to ensure patient safety was maintained.

“The team spirit demonstrated commitment to patient care, with as little disruption as possible.

“This proves our NHS is invaluable, and the hard work and commitment of staff is what keeps it running despite pay freezes and staff shortages.”

Staff nurse Claire Woods, who works at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, agreed that NHS staff went above and beyond to provide care for their patients.

“Some staff had to stay the night at the hospital to ensure they were able to be at work the next day, with staff also staying hours after their shifts ended until the next staff member arrived to assure that patient safety was maintained”, she said.

Members of the public took to Twitter to express their support for Scotland’s NHS.  Twitter user @ticgran expressed there thanks to the NHS through a tweet saying: “Well done NHS Scotland. I love the care at home which enable me to stay at home and get amazing treatment.”

Twitter user @ticgran complimented the NHS’s care | Image credit: Twitter user @ticgran

Graham Pattie also took to Twitter to share his praise for the NHS adding: “NHS Scotland. Still out-performing the rest of the UK.”

Twitter user Graham Pattie shares his pride in NHS Scotland on Twitter | Image credit: Twitter user @GrahamP58

A spokesperson for the British Medical Association Scotland (BMA) also expressed their gratitude for the “extraordinary lengths” that the NHS staff went to in order to care for their patients.

They stated:

“Doctors and other NHS staff went to extraordinary lengths to provide care to their patients throughout the disruption caused by the recent extreme weather. Some staff slept in hospitals to continue looking after their patients, while others made long and difficult journeys to reach their place of work.

“The lengths that NHS staff went to shows the dedication they have to their jobs and to their patients and should be applauded.”


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£160,000 worth of drugs seized at Scottish railway stations

Drugs have been recovered at three of Scotland’s busiest stations in the past week.

Police seized £80,000 of cannabis at Edinburgh Waverley station last week. A 45-year-old man was arrested.

An officer on patrol at Glasgow Central Station. Photograph: BBC

Two days later, a 56-year-old man was detained at Aberdeen Station with £13,000 of heroin. He was also charged with having an unlicensed firearm and bladed weapon in his possession.

On Monday, officers arrested a man arriving at Glasgow Central with £70,000 worth of cannabis.

Superintendent David Marshall believes the recoveries are a significant step in the right direction.

He said:“These are three very impressive seizures which has resulted in an estimated £160,000 worth of drugs being taken off the streets.

“This work underpins why cross-border and end-to-end policing on the rail network is extremely vital.

“Our officers can quickly work with British Transport Police colleagues south of the border, as well as other police forces, to share intelligence and intercept drugs.”

“These arrests prove that our work to make the railway a hostile environment for criminals to operate is working.

“We will continue to work hard to make sure passengers feel safe and crime is deterred.

“The public can, of course, help us achieve this, and I would advise anyone with any concerns to report them to us. You can do this by sending a text to us discreetly on 61016. ”


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Wolf Alice fan’s onstage debut

Wolf Alice, Freya and her friend Heather.

Freya MacDonald with Wolf Alice. Source: @freyamacd via Twitter

 

London alt-rockers Wolf Alice took to the famous Glasgow Barrowland’s stage on Saturday to perform one of two sold-out shows in front over 2,000 of their adoring fans. However, this was no ordinary Wolf Alice gig. Lead singer Ellie Rowsell took to Twitter on Friday afternoon requesting for any female guitarists around Glasgow to get in touch for the chance to play onstage with the band during their performance of hit single ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ from their 2015 critically acclaimed album ‘My Love Is Cool’.

 

 

16-year-old Freya MacDonald from Fort William was the lucky girl who joined the band onstage at the iconic Glasgow venue after sending Ellie a video of herself playing ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. Ecstatic, Freya told BBC News:

 

“When I saw the email flash up on my phone I was running around my house. I went to tell my mum and sisters, we were freaking out – it was crazy.”

View this post on Instagram

Thank u Freya #sheshreds #shredwithellie #hashtags

A post shared by Wolf Alice (@wolfaliceband) on

 

Freya says she has never performed in front of people before and prefers to keep her performances to herself in the comfort of her own bedroom, however it seems that Wolf Alice were able to bring out her natural flare for stage performance.

Spinning Coin – ‘Permo’ Review

The Glaswegian music scene is classically known for its riotous, Buckfast-fueled punk bands and very few have successfully broken this mould. Spinning Coin are Glasgow’s latest success story who released their long awaited debut album ‘Permo’ on the 9th of November.

 

After distributing some cassettes and a couple of 7” vinyl singles since 2014, Permo is their biggest launch yet with loads of brand new songs and  a few old favourites guaranteed to please any fan of dreamy, classic indie.

 

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Permo begins with the subdued yet upbeat ‘Raining On Hope Street’. Adorned with sweet guitar melodies, it is slightly reminiscent of Glasgow legends Belle and Sebastian. However, Spinning Coin have made this sound their own with their trademark lo-fi style. ‘Money Is A Drug’ is a stark contrast to Raining On Hope Street’. Starting off smooth, it descends into a punky observation of the world. Complete with syncopated drums and rough, apathetic male vocals which are juxtaposed beautifully by the sweet female voice during the chorus which expresses frustration with class wars.

 

A rainy day on Hope Street, Glasgow

‘Magdalene’ further explores Spinning Coin’s punk side and opens with bluesy guitar bends which perfectly complement the husky singing. This eventually makes way for the intense, distorted breakdown towards the end, complete with fast drumming and even faster guitar shredding. The album does have some noticeable ‘filler’ tracks which include the likes of the generic ‘Be Free’, the ironically named ‘Powerful’ (which isn’t particularly powerful at all) and ‘Starry Eyes’ which is an honest yet empty track full of jarringly dissonant guitar riffs.

 

However, tunes like ‘Running With The World’ help to redeem Permo’s more disappointing tracks. The dreamy ballad provides the listener with an interesting yet relaxing feeling of nostalgia and features twinkly guitars and soothing female vocals asking “where do you go when it’s cold?”. 

 

Permo’s closing track ‘I Feel The Need To Be An Actor’ is a very melancholic end to a lovely album which you can’t help but sway along to. The smooth guitar scales provide a pretty backing to the silky vocals on this ‘last dance at the end of the night’ kind of song and bring the album to a satisfying end.

As a whole, Spinning Coin’s debut is a promising success for the indie quintet and is a great indicator of the talent in the Glasgow music scene, however Permo does play it safe and, as mentioned before, is a bit of a crowd pleaser.

Waterstones Sauchiehall Street celebrates 20th anniversary

Christmas isn’t the only thing employees at Waterstones Sauchiehall Street are celebrating.

 

Scotland’s largest book store has turned 20 and what better way to commemorate this milestone than a week long series of events this November?

 

Frankie Burr, who works at Waterstones Sauchiehall Street, helped organise the events. She excitedly tells of why they decided to celebrate now.

 

“We wanted to bring together a programme of events to help celebrate and now, in the run up to Christmas, it seemed like the perfect time.”

 

What can we expect to see during the week? Frankie explains the importance of accommodating to their customers’ range of interests, from sci-fi books all the way to academic.

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Fans eagerly waiting for their signed copy of Viz

 

Frankie explains: “It’s such a massively wide range that we wanted to try and replicate that in the events we’re celebrating of the 20 years. The only way to get anywhere near that is to try and hold a week of events. We hold events here all the time but we usually try to spread them out a bit more.

 

Already, the store has showcased talks by author, Charlotte Peacock, on Friday, who wrote the first ever biography of Nan Shepherd published this Autumn. A Q&A with Rick Stein (author of Road to Mexico) was held on Saturday, and on Sunday there were a few family events featuring popular character The Gruffalo.

 

“Today we’ve got the guy from Viz comic. Viz is the most irreverent comic on the market. If you haven’t encountered Viz, you need to. It’s so funny and so rude. So close to the bone. So perfect for people you don’t know what to get for for Christmas.”

 

Along with the events, five floors have been refurbished and the store now also features a bar – which was opened by Rick Stein.

 

“Who doesn’t like the idea of a pint and a book at the same time?” Frankie jokes. “It works for me!”

 

 

If you fancy some wine and light reading, why not spend head down to Waterstones to listen to lectures from authors and publishers and help celebrate the store’s birthday?

 

Don’t forget to check out Waterstones Sauchiehall Street’s Facebook and Twitter for more information on all the events to come.

Star Wars exhibition lands in Glasgow

In a city not-so-far-away, a Star Wars exhibition is set to land in Glasgow to raise money for the Scottish SPCA.

The exhibition will start on the 1st of November and will showcase throughout the month at Drury Street Bar and Kitchen, open from 12pm to 12am daily.

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Artwork by Mark Boyle

Mark Boyle, who is the organiser of Star Wars in Glasgow, has been a big advocate of Star Wars over the years.

Back in 2015, Boyle worked on another exhibition of Star Wars in Glasgow ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and previewed what it would look like if the film series was based in Glasgow.

The Variety Bar was changed into the Variety Cantina, and was decorated with inspired artwork and replicas, both by Boyle and other artists and replica specialists.

Toasty Type

In regards to this year’s charity event, Boyle said:

It’s a fantastic opportunity for Star Wars fans in Glasgow to come and view some original artworks from a truly diverse group of artists – we have tattooists, comic book artists, photography and calligraphy along with an incredible display of collectibles, many of which have never been seen before.

Tanya Roberts

Artwork by Tanya Roberts

Expect to see a whole bunch of Star Wars original pieces from award-winning comic book artists – Tanya Roberts and Neil Slorance, calligrapher – Jen Fisher (aka Toasty Type), tattooist – David Matson, Artist – Karen Bones, and classic Star Wars Toy Collector Thomas Wilson.

Mark Boyle himself will be featuring his photography and artworks during the month. In addition to the exhibition, there will be special events playing throughout November. Some of the films from the series will be playing at the bar, as well as several pub quizzes.

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Artwork by Neil Slorance

Boyle emphasises the importance of this exhibition and its aim to help the SPCA:

We hope to raise lots of money for the Scottish SPCA. As a collective of animal lovers, it’s important to us that the money we raise goes directly to helping abused animals find their happy new homes.

Make sure to keep an eye out for BB-8, who will be helping the bar staff at the Drury Street Bar and Kitchen.

For more information and news on the artists and launch, check out Star Wars in Glasgow’s Facebook page.

Glasgow… May the Force be with you!

Scare Scotland’s Dread 2: Mutation

Masters of horror, Scare Scotland, are back with a new scare attraction hell-bent on pulling you into a spine-chilling tale.

Dread 2: Mutation takes visitors into a science facility where strange experiments are taking place. Led by a soldier, the tour soon turns awry when the experiment’s test-subjects escape. Soon you are chased from room to room in a dire attempt to escape the building. Many strange and frightening obstacles are in your way and you’ll find it’s not that easy to escape the Mutations…

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Behind the walls of the ‘science facility,’ Stevie Douglas, director of Scare Scotland, tells us how the show came about:

“Dread started as an idea two years ago. It was being built by another group who lost their way a little bit. Then it was taken over by a guy named Barry Douglas – no relation to me – and he decided he wanted to build his own zombie show rather than a generic scare thing. He needed actors and a specialist type of actors, so he got a hold of myself at Scare Scotland and we came in and helped him design the first show and the one that you see now.”

The show had reopened in September after having a three month hiatus to rebuild the set for its new show. Previously, Dread Glasgow featured zombies chasing visitors around. Now, the month-long show has a fresh new story – one Stevie is rather proud of:

“I feel personally that, when we put these things together, we want to put you inside a film. If the film has a bad plot, you’ll lose interest. After being involved in loads of these things over the years, you find you’ll walk around and it’s just jumpscares. They’re fun but what do you actually remember? We try to be inside a film and you’re a part of that. That’s what I believe works best.”

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Thrill seekers will want to visit the show this Halloween, as Stevie explains there will be frightening new additions.

“We tend to up the ante a little bit. We put in a few extra scares and hold the audience a little longer. Last Halloween we were doing the zombie show and we basically tripled the amount of zombies.”

Starting six years ago, Scare Scotland is known for its horror events and has been involved in numerous films, music videos, and TV shows, including BBC Three’s I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse.

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“We’re a small company with big ideas,” Stevie explains. “We want to see the scare attraction industry in Scotland get professionalised. It began here and we should be flying the flag for it.”

For more information on Scare Scotland and its horror events, check out their Facebook page or website.

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