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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 222

Date:- 10 October 2005

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Usdaw seeks urgent talks after Boots announce merger with Unichem

THE retail union Usdaw is seeking urgent talks with management at pharmacy giants Boots and Unichem after they announced they were to merge in a £7 billion deal. The union has strong representation and agreements in both companies particularly in the distribution and logistical parts of both companies.

"We have long standing agreements with both companies which is good news for our members as we will be able to use those positive relationships to protect the interests of our members.

We are seeking meetings with both companies this week to find out exactly what the long term implications are for our members as company briefings to staff have made it clear that any significant changes will not happen overnight. This merger is designed to make sure the new company has enough firepower to meet the challenges from the supermarkets but we want to make sure that the loyalty of staff at both companies is recognised and rewarded with the sort of security this merger is intended to provide.

It's far too early to comment on unhelpful speculation about potential job losses and our vast experience in situations like this will ensure that we work closely with both companies to explore ways to manage this merger in the best interests of hard working retail, pharmacy, logistical, manufacturing and support staff across the UK." says Usdaw general secretary John Hannett.

WIN A BBC VISIT FOR YOUR SCHOOL AND HAVE THE CHANCE TO PRODUCE A BBC QUESTION TIME TELEVISION PROGRAMME

YOUNG people around the UK can win a session with a BBC journalist for their school and have the chance to work with David Dimbleby to produce a real edition of Question Time to be broadcast on BBC ONE. To be in with a chance of winning this unique opportunity, pupils must enter the new Schools Question Time Challenge. Supported by the BT Education Programme, the Institute for Citizenship and the BBC, the Challenge is open to all schools with pupils aged 14 to 18 and involves pupils staging their own debates based upon the popular BBC Question Time format.

Schools can enter the Challenge by visiting www.bt.com/education/schoolsqt and completing a simple online form. The deadline to enter the Challenge is 6 January 2006 and all schools who enter before 5 November 2005 automatically win a visit from a BBC journalist. Schools can learn more about participating in the Challenge by downloading the BT Education Programme’s free resources which include teacher’s notes, lesson plans and activities. The resources aim to help pupils form opinions, improve their speaking and listening skills and engage with the issues that affect them as citizens.

From all the online entries 12 finalist schools will be selected and given a £500 grant from BT to run their own local Question Time event. Each finalist school will also receive professional support from BT in staging the event by taking part in a Schools Question Time workshop. A panel of judges will travel to each finalist school to evaluate their Question Time event and then select the 4 award winners. Pupils from the 4 winning schools will collaborate with David Dimbleby and the Question Time production team to produce a real BBC Question Time programme to be broadcast on 6 July 2006 on BBC ONE.

David Dimbleby commented:- “Everyone who has taken part in the Schools Question Time Challenge has found it interesting, enjoyable and instructive. Teachers and students alike enjoy the fun of planning their own television programme and those who get through to the final round, or actually work on the broadcast programme itself, say it is a once in a lifetime experience.”

GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO GENDER EQUALITY

THE public sector needs to ensure that it leads the way in rights and attitudes when it comes to gender equality was the message from Meg Munn , Deputy Minister for Women and Equality this week.

Speaking at the launch of the consultation document 'Advancing Equality for Men and Women', Meg Munn said:- "The public sector must make sure that the rights and opportunities of men and women are fully promoted. It is key to leading the way as an employer and service provider. The Government is fully committed to wiping out inequality and this duty will help us do just that. Public authorities will be more responsive to the different needs of men and women by increasing opportunities and reducing inequality. This consultation is key to the public sector becoming the champion of gender rights. I hope that people will take part and give us their views."

The public sector duty will require public authorities to monitor their activities and respond to the different needs of women and men, and to involve employees, consumers and other stakeholders in their assessments.

They will need to:-

* draw up and publish an equality scheme,this should identify gender equality goals and show the steps that authority will take to implement them;

* develop and publish a policy on their equal pay arrangements,including measures to ensure fair promotion and development opportunities and tackle occupational segregation;

* ensure that they assess the impact of new legislation, policies, employment and service delivery changes. These assessments must also be published.

MERSEY AND SOUTHPORT SCHOOLS INVITED TO PEN THE PERFECT POEM AND WIN LIBRARY BOOKS

TO celebrate National Poetry Day on 6 October, Mersey and Southport primary schools are being invited to enter a holiday themed poetry competition launched today by Eurocamp, with a top prize of £1,500 worth of books for their school libraries.

School pupils are being asked to write a poem, sonnet, limerick or verse that best describes what they think holidays in the
future will be like.

Students can enter poems written in any form or even recorded on CD, cassette or mpeg. Poems can be submitted from individuals, classes or a whole school. The winner will be able to choose £1,500 worth of books for their school library. 2
runners-up will each receive £500 worth of books.

Entry packs are being sent to primary schools across Mersey and Southport now. For further information about the competition, or to download a school’s pack visit www.eurocamp.co.uk or call Helen Taylor on 0161 238 9402. All entries should be sent to:- Eurocamp Competition, P.O. Box PO Box 381, Manchester M15 4XF by 30 November 2005.

The competition has been launched with the support of the Poetry Society, the organisation behind National Poetry Day. Lisa Roberts, press and marketing manager at the Poetry Society, said:- “As an organisation dedicated to celebrating poetry, we’re delighted to support initiatives such as Eurocamp’s school poetry competition, which help to raise the profile of poetry amongst the ‘word smiths’ of tomorrow.”

Deborah Beckett, managing director of Eurocamp, said:- “The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is all about the future.
To encourage primary schools to get involved, we wanted to invite children to write a poem about the way they think holidays may be in the future. As Europe’s leading camping tour operator helping many British families and couples travel abroad each year, we understand the long-lasting impact a holiday can have, helping to inspire creativity. This competition is a great opportunity for children to show off their creative talents, and we’re looking forward to receiving lots of entries from schools in Mersey and Southport.”

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