LAST night, there were two demonstrations outside Rochdale Town Hall for the full council meeting. One was an ongoing protest by citizens and council workers again the Labour and Tory councillors who at the last full council meeting awarded themselves a rise in stipend of 34%, but the other was a challenge by residents who are anxious about the Northern Economic Gateway which proposes to build posh houses on the Green Belt in Rochdale and other areas of Greater Manchester.
The Rochdale Council leader, Richard Farnell, did his best to justify the rise in the councillor's stipend of which he is the chief beneficiary*. What was more interesting last night was the debate about the Green Belt, which resulted in cat-calls from the packed public gallery.
Councillor Farnell promised a full consultation which the public over the next 20-years in which the project will be rolled out. He also predicted a vision of an economic utopia for the people of Rochdale and beyond when the project goes ahead.
A Tory councillor suggested that only Brown Field land should be used in the first place and that areas of Green Belt should only be used if and when necessary. But the Tory councillor then said that obcourse the building firm 'Balfour (Beatty) will not agree to this!'.
This was stating the obvious, because the contrators want the cream first and foremost , and the Green Belt offers the most profitable land for development.
Yet, Balfour Beatty is no ordinary company it was one of the prime movers of the Blacklist in the British building industry and was an affiliate of the Consulting Association operated on its behalf by the now deceased blacklister Ian Kerr, before it was closed down by the Information Commissioner in 2009 it damaged many lives of working men.
If Rochdale Council, a Labour Council, is now going to get into bed with a gang of blacklisters who have inflicted tremendous suffering on workers in the British building trade this is to say the least very disappointing.
What happened to an 'Ethical Procurement Policy' at Rochdale MBC? Or indeed in Greater Manchester?
At least Councillor Richard Farnell's predecessor former Councillor Colin Lambert when leader of Rochdale MBC said that his council would avoid employing companies like Balfour Beatty that participate in the blacklisting of trade unionists.
For coverage of the previous Rochdale meeting of Rochdale MBC filmed by Carl Faulkner, and how the Rochdale councillor's voted through their 34% rise in the councillor's stipend go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c2pmv_lZFI