Families in danger as Edinburgh fire station forced to close over staffing crisis

Fire stations are struggling to stay open.

Marionville Fire Station closed on Saturday due to there not being enough staff to man one fire engine, a union warned.

The fire station, which covers the Restalrig and Craigentinny areas of the city is only one of the many fire stations which have been affected by the staffing crisis.

Fire stations across the city have had their fire engine numbers halved, and specialist roles such as water rescue and major crash response have also taken a hit.

Emergency services are vital to the safety and security of the people living in the community and are at risk due to the lack firefighters.

Ex-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale blamed the SNP for the staffing problem:

Edinburgh residents have also expressed their disappointment:

Missed today’s headlines?

Liam Mackay and Emer Harrison have today’s front page round-up.

Read about Nicola Sturgeon’s £200,000 pledge.

 

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.

International Insight

Joanna Hampson brings you the latest EN4 international news brief for Tuesday October 23.

Here are today’s top stories.

  • The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly planned days in advance. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed he has strong evidence to suggest Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the 2nd of October. In his address this Tuesday, to the MP’s of his ruling party, President Erdogan confirmed that 18 people had been arrested in Saudi Arabia over the case, but is yet to release further information regarding the details of the evidence. For live updates from the investment conference in Saudi Arabia head to the Guardian.

 

  • The world’s longest sea-crossing bridge has finally been opened in Zhuhai, China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the bridge, which connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai, spanning 55km (34 miles) of water. The $20 billion bridge took nine years to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns. To watch the video ‘flying over the world’s longest sea bridge’ head to the BBC.

 

  • Poland’s first openly gay politician has said progressive policies can win in the countries local elections. After the ruling Law and Justice party suffered setbacks in local elections at the weekend, Robert Biedroń who stepped down as mayor of Słupsk to launch his own pro-European, “pro-democratic” movement, has now said that progressives can win. Biedroń’s own political trajectory, as a young, former LGBT activist who was elected to the Sejm in 2011, strides towards a modern Poland, advancing on the common view of the Catholic country. The Guardian report on the advancements of the upcoming elections in more detail on their website.

 

  • Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China. Speaking to reporters, the President repeated his belief that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which he has threatened to leave. Russia continues to deny these allegations.

In Business

 

  • UK based vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Dyson, is set to build its new electric car in Singapore. The factory will break ground in Singapore later this year with the first car scheduled to roll off the production line in 2021. Dyson has said Singapore was chosen for the project based on the availability of engineering talent, regional supply chains and proximity to some key target markets. With a vast budget of £2 billion committed to the plant, Dyson will be focussing largely on research and development and test track facilities.

 

  • Co-founder of the Benetton clothing firm, Gilberto Benetton, has died at the age of 77. Benetton founded United Colors of Benetton in Italy, with brothers Luciano and Carlo and sister Giuliana, in the 1960s. Considered as one of the most powerful families in Italy, Benetton himself is credited with diversifying the clothing company into a multi-billion euro giant. United Colors of Benetton is known for its provocative advertising campaigns which have previously featured images of prisoners sentenced to death in America and, more recently, displayed images of migrants being rescued from the Mediterranean.

Should we have the right to our own image?

A mind-boggling scenario was brought to light in an Instagram post by Gigi Hadid last week. The model was forced to delete a photo from her Instagram page after her manager informed her that she was being “legally pursued” for posting a photo of herself taken by a paparazzi.

Hadid had found the photo uncredited on Twitter and had posted it to her Instagram account. She even said that she would have given credit to the photographer had they come forward and asked her to. Her frustration was clearly directed at the money-making tendencies of the paparazzi.

The model also shed light on the fact that some of her young fans who have Instagram accounts dedicated to her have had their accounts suspended or have been sued for posting images taken by the paparazzi.

View this post on Instagram

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A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

A valiant flock of celebs have rallied by Hadid’s side since her post, describing similar instances where they have been sued for posting their own faces. Kylie Jenner commented: “We’re ‘public figures’ and it’s legal for them to invade our privacy. It’s pretty disappointing. We gotta change this,” whilst Emily Ratajkowski reposted Gigi’s post.

This is a complex issue to come to terms with. The job of the paparazzi is to photograph and circulate images of celebrities in the media, so choosing to sue a celebrity that posts your photo seems backwards and paradoxical. Surely, we should all have the right to post a photo of ourselves no matter who took it, but there is no law in place to make this the case. Anyone, not just the paparazzi, who takes a photo, owns that photo through copyright law and is liable to sue for improper use.

Here is how the law currently stands:

 

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The law surrounding the paparazzi in England changed significantly after Princess Diana’s death in 1997. Despite her death being the result of a car accident, she was being chased by intrusive paparazzi at the time. A Gallup poll from 1997 reveals that 43% of the UK public thought that the photographers were responsible for the collision.

After Diana’s death, the Protection from Harassment Act became an important way for celebrities to arm themselves against the paps; as did the Press Complaints Commission, who carefully reviewed its press regulations.

There have been many more examples of safety being a key worry, both for celebrities and for the paparazzi. In 2013, a paparazzi was killed when he was run over whilst trying to photograph Justin Bieber in his car.

There are also some bizarre examples of copyright law which are now being questioned. In 2015, PETA attempted to sue a photographer for posting a ‘selfie’ that a monkey had taken. They argued that publishing and selling the photographs that the monkey had taken infringed his copyright. Earlier this year it was decided that, as a monkey, Naruto couldn’t own the copyright for the pictures.

However, the issues brought up last week pose a new, contemporary set of problems. These are issues that arise as products of the internet era. They have raised the question of whether traditional copyright rules are perhaps outdated in the time of platforms like Instagram and other photo sharing sites.

The issues raised by Hadid prove that there is a flaw in the law if we don’t even own the rights to photos of our own faces. Perhaps the law now actually acts in favour of paparazzi rather than the subjects of their taunting. The question is, can we fight for the right to have control over unsolicited pictures of our own faces, and what will protect us when fighting for this right?

 

 

 

 

Hate crime has no place in Scotland

With “Leith Stands Up To Racism” planned for the 27th of October, Michaella Wheatley takes a look at the latest campaigns to combat hate crime.

Scotland is known for many things such as kilts, whisky and haggis. It’s even known for providing some of the greatest talent – Billy Connolly, Ewan McGregor, and Karen Gillan. People come to see Edinburgh Castle, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and even the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

However, on the 24th of September, Scotland added one more attraction to the list, and this one seems to buck the trend.

The country is putting a stop to hate crime. It will no longer be home to hatred.

Hate crime

The “Letters from Scotland” campaign hopes to end hate crime in the country. Credit to One Scotland.

It’s been declared on walls, radio, and TV, that no type of hate is allowed in the country. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, Scotland will not stand for hate against anyone.

The “Letters from Scotland” campaign, founded by One Scotland, is the latest force to put a stop to the hate crime that has increased throughout the country. With so much uncertainty, last year’s terrorist attacks and the country’s vote on Brexit are still fresh in people’s minds and there is a concern that hate crimes could flare drastically.

In Edinburgh, only one type of aggravated crime was reported to have decreased, as stated by the Procurator Fiscal Office. Below are the statistics of hate crimes reported:

Edinburgh's aggravated crime

But One Scotland has faith in its country, as the website reads:

“Scotland believes in equality for all. No one should be denied for opportunities because of age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.”

It’s only been a month since the message was first displayed, but the campaign has already made a large impact. It would be no surprise if the campaign becomes one of the strongest against hate crime in Scottish history.

There is almost no escaping the words on the letters,  as soon as you read “Dear…” or hear a strong Scottish tone, you know what’s about to happen.

Following One Scotland’s lead, the Scottish Government and Police Scotland have also shown support for the campaign.  In the last year, more than 5,300 charges of hate crime were reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. However, it is believed that several incidents go unreported. The campaign is hoped to raise awareness, as well as the need to combat the issue in a positive manner.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, said, “As somebody who has faced Islamaphobic and racial abuse over the years, I know how upsetting being a victim of hate can be. Hate crime and prejudice are completely unacceptable and we are absolutely committed to tackling it.

“We all have a role to play in stamping out prejudice and I would ask anyone who witnesses a hate crime to play their part and report it.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice also commented specifically on the campaign on Twitter last month:

The trend to stand up against hate crimes goes further than this campaign, with “Stand Up To Racism Edinburgh” organising a march to take place on the 27th of October. The event, which will start at 11am on Balfour Street, will be in response to recent hate crimes in the city.

“Leith Stands Up To Racism” will declare that migrants and refugees are welcome in the capital.

Stand Up To Racism Edinburgh stated on Facebook that “Last month, over 300 people came out to support a peace vigil in response to the firebombing of the Sikh temple in Leith, which the police are treating as a hate crime.

“Earlier this year, two young Polish men were physically attacked in Davidson Mains, and Shabaz Ali, a young Syrian refugee, was stabbed six times in a racially motivated attempted murder attack in the Fountainbridge area.”

A number of film screenings were held across Edinburgh between October 2017 and March 2018. “Syrian Voices”, a short film focusing on three refugee families living in Edinburgh, was also shown at Edinburgh University on the 10th of October.

There is no question that Scotland wants to put an end to hate crime, and these campaigns and events might be the turning point to make it happen.

So, if you witness an act of hate, do what’s right and report it – because as One Scotland said:

“There’s no place for hate crime in Scotland. It’s everyone’s responsibility to challenge it.”

EN4News were lucky enough to chat with Steve West, who was promoting the Leith Stands Up To Racism march. Watch the video below:

 

Preserving Scottish Gaelic heritage and culture through the Royal National Mòd

Culture and history are two of the key motivators for visits to Scotland and the Highlands and Islands, and they play an important part of the visitor experience. Scotland is rich in history and archaeology — from World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends.

However, there is a fear that Scotland is risking the irrecoverable loss of its heritage by abandoning the use of its native language — Scottish Gaelic. Only 57,375 people which is the equivalent of 1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old, are reported as able to speak Gaelic.

Luckily, the Gaelic community is actively trying to preserve its culture and traditions, and the Royal National Mòd is one of them.

The Royal National Mòd is the main music festival of Scottish Gaelic literature, songs, arts and culture and is one of the more notable peripatetic cultural festivals in Scotland. It is the most important of several other Mòds that are held annually. This year it was held in Dunoon and was organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach (The Highland Association).

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The Royal National Mòd 2018 programme

The festival ran from October 12 to 20 and included many competitions and awards for people as young as seven years old. Whether you are fluent in Gaelic or still learning the language, everyone was welcomed to take part.

Ricky Hannaway, an Assistant Floor Manager and Runner Co-ordinator working on the Mòd, spoke about what impact festivals like this one has on the Gaelic community.

“There are only about 60 thousand Gaelic speakers,” Ricky explained. “So, to have a situation where you can put more emphasis on the culture, where people learn old songs, where people learn old arrangements of things when they learn instruments to go do musical events, it’s really good.

“Our culture is an oral tradition where we pass everything on, all the information, through word of mouth, spoken stories and songs. So now that we’ve got a place and a platform to do that it’s really good.”

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Dunoon presents… The Royal National Mòd 2018

During the Mòd festival, people celebrate old traditions of the Gaelic culture. But some believe this isn’t the best approach to keep the language alive, Ricky said.

“Some people don’t have an opinion of the Mòd of something that’s good, they think it’s a bit detrimental to the culture, thinking we’re always looking backwards. But I think it’s something that can preserve what we’ve got but has a forwarding outlook as well.”

Not only does Ricky work in the festival, but he also competes in it.

“It’s an absolute experience to be a part of the Mòd,” he said. “For years I sang in the Mod and I never knew anything about the media side of things. Now doing the media side of things, it’s great and it’s adventitious because I know the people involved in putting the Mòd together.”

Report reveals gender pay gap in City of Edinburgh Council

The City of Edinburgh Council will address a gender pay gap issue that has surfaced since a report revealed that male staff are paid more than women.

The pay gap ranges from 5% difference for staff and 20% difference for part-time employees within the City of Edinburgh Council, where roughly 70% of staff are women. Men are paid on average £13.47, while women earn on average £12.79 — a difference of 68p an hour.

Labour Councillor and member of the Finance and Resources Committee, Mandy Watt, said:

“Work that is done mainly by female employees is not properly valued by society. Women are expected to ‘break the glass ceiling’ if they want the gender pay gap to be closed. It would be fairer to simply pay more for the work that women do now. If the Council was not constrained by austerity, I would want this to be considered as a policy proposal.”

Edinburgh Councillors seem to agree that measures need to be put in place for the pay gap to end. 

Conservative Councillor Graham Hutchison said:

“As is the case in any organisation, the Council’s employees are our most valuable resource and are critical in terms of delivering frontline services to the citizens of Edinburgh.  It is worth noting that the gender pay gap in the Council is comparatively low but with women making up some 70% of our workforce it is an issue which must be promptly addressed.  A report on the Gender Pay Gap to the last meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee, on which I sit, was approved unanimously by all members showing the commitment of Councillors of all political stripes to eliminate the pay gap entirely.”

There is a difference between the gender pay gap and equal pay (which is to pay the same amount of money for the same work, without regard for gender). Equal pay has been achieved in the City of Edinburgh Council.

The city council will continue to investigate several other issues in the workplace, such as occupational segregation (when men and women tend to take on particular roles) and the male to female ratio in regards to senior positions.

Gender Pay gap

 

 

Edinburgh Waverley station worst in Scotland for delays and cancellations

As an experienced train commuter, Michaella Wheatley gives an insight into how train delays from Edinburgh Waverley can impact everyday lives.

“The 15:35 service to Stirling has been delayed. Please listen for further announcements.”

The sigh that escaped my mouth was echoed across the platform. A quick glance around, and it became obvious that this was the last thing anyone wanted to hear. Frowns were plastered to almost all faces on platform 14 – and those who did not wear a frown wore a blank expression instead.

It was not that much of a surprise to hear my train was delayed. Unpleasant and disappointing? Yes, but shocking? No.

At least one train a week, out of the three Edinburgh to Stirling services I took, ended up being slightly delayed. This varied from the train being a minute late to arriving at the platform roughly a quarter of an hour after its scheduled time. For me, this meant waiting on the platform for longer, then being home a little later than planned.

It might not seem like a long time to me, but for those who had to catch another train, it was inconvenient. These are the commuters who are always hit the hardest when trains fail to run on time — the domino-effect of one delayed train, leading to missing the next train, and so on, is likely to ruin their plans completely.

Judging from some of the reactions to this announcement around me, it was easy to spot who would be missing their next train home.

In light of the importance of reliable train services and why they are important to commuters, consumer group Which? has uncovered the percentage of delayed and cancelled services for stations across the UK.

The company looked at the 20 busiest train stations outside of London and the ten busiest London stations from the beginning of this year to September 30, 2018, using data from the rail-performance tracking website On Time Trains.

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42% of all Edinburgh Waverley services end up delayed by more than a minute.

Three of Scotland’s train stations made the top 20 busiest stations in the UK: Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Queen Street, and Glasgow Central. Most services ran smoothly for both Glasgow stations, with Queen Street reaching only 39% of delays and Central on second place with 34%. The two Glasgow stations reported a 3% in cancellations on all services.

Edinburgh was ranked the worst station in Scotland, the 16th worst outside of London, even though it is the second busiest Scottish station after Glasgow Central.

Last week, Which? reported that 42% of all train services from Edinburgh Waverley are delayed, by one minute or more, or cancelled. The station’s cancellation rate was stated to be 4%.

However, since the end of September, these statistics have changed slightly.

The table below, including statistics from On Time Trains about Edinburgh Waverley’s performance over the past six months, reports the current percentage of delays and cancellations.

Edinburgh Waverley Station Performance

It is hoped that rail companies, as well as the government, will take notice of this report.

Alex Hayman, who is the Managing Director of Public Markets at Which?, said: “Passengers have told us reliability is hugely important to them. People have been left deeply frustrated at the unacceptably high levels of delays and cancellations which impact on their everyday lives.

“Passengers must be at the centre of the forthcoming Government rail review, it must look at performance targets to drive improvements in punctuality and reliability for passengers.

“The review must not be used as an excuse to delay real action to improve passengers’ experiences on the trains today. As a first step, the Government must introduce fully automatic compensation, ensuring more passengers get the money they are owed.”

In the Which? report, it is found that only eight train operating companies offer Delay Repay, and ScotRail is one of them.

This report from Which? comes a few weeks after ScotRail announced major changes to the train timetables, which will take effect in December, and are hoped to combat criticism from passengers about over-crowding trains during rush hour. The changes include faster journey times, more services, and more seats have been promised, but failed to announce how this would affect the punctuality of Scotland’s train, which is, at the end of the day, the biggest problem at hand.

 

Final day of SNP conference

snp conf 2 - add credit to Nick Eardley

Final day of the SNP conference in Glasgow, Tuesday 9thOctober 2018. Photo by Nick Eardly.

Tensions rise as Nicola Sturgeon paves the way for a second Independence Referendum.

As the final day of the SNP conference gets underway Nicola Sturgeon is set to send a message of hope. Today, the First Minister is expected to declare how independence is the only way forward for the people of Scotland.

The pressure from ‘Yes’ activists have been heightened after protesters took to the streets of Edinburgh on Sunday. Sturgeon is expected to tell delegates that it is up to them now more than ever to offer optimism and hope.

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Audience members today look forward to an inspiring and uplifting speech from the First Minister. An audience member told EN4 News that they were “looking for an affirmation of where most members stand and patiently waiting for the kick off for the second referendum.”

SNP Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf said today that patience is needed in order to win a second referendum.

“There needs to be patience, there needs to be an understanding that we have to take the Scottish public with us and it has to be guided for when the timing is absolutely right and I don’t have an answer for when that is, I don’t have a crystal ball, but the campaigning for independence should take place just now.”

Calls for Indyref2 comes with the First Ministers announcement that the SNP would back any calls for a second vote on Brexit. During an interview on the Andrew Marr Show, when asked if SNP MPs would back a second Brexit vote, Sturgeon said:

“I would expect the SNP MP’s to vote for that if it comes to a second vote in the House of Commons. A second EU Referendum, the case for that is understandable but we have to be absolutely clear it’s not the clear solution.”

However, the SNP’s stance is not backed by members of the opposing parties. Scottish Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour told EN4News:

“The people have made the decision to leave and the UK Government need to negotiate the best deal and get on with it. I want the First Minister to get on with the day job and stop talking about independence.”

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “The SNP should be focusing on areas that concern the public. These are our health and social care system, education and economy. We see one million Scots living in poverty, the educational attainment gap growing and a national housing crisis.”

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