Food banks

Food bank demand rises 800% in a year

Food banks surveyed for ITV News said they had more users last year than ever before. One, in Northumberland, saw demand rise by 800%.

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27 turbines makes Teesside wind generation site biggest in North East

A wind turbine generating electricity in the North East Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The offshore wind farm operating off the Teesside coast has 27 turbines making it by far the biggest such site in the North East.

But it is dwarfed by the London Array with 175 turbines.

There are more than 20 such sites of varying sizes along the UK coast line.

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Strike: RMT says there's 'no option'

Rail workers' union RMT have announced that staff at the Northern Rail maintenance depot at Heaton in Newcastle are to take a full week of strike action starting on Thursday. The claim is that management has left 'no option' other than to strike.

“Despite a rock solid 48 hour strike in February, and total support for the overtime ban, management refuse to take our members concerns seriously and have left us with no option other than to ratchet up the action with a week-long strike starting this Thursday.“This dispute has been forced on us by the management’s continuing and stubborn refusal to take the real nature of these jobs into account through the re-grading process and it is now down to them to rectify the situation. RMT remains available for talks.”

– RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash

Northern Rail maintenance staff announce week long strike

Rail workers' union RMT have announced that staff at the Northern Rail maintenance depot at Heaton in Newcastle are to take a full week of strike action starting on Thursday.

It is the latest step in a continuing dispute over overtime and the grading of roles which staff say do not recognised the "complex and demanding role of this key group of staff".

There was a 48 hour strike in February but, according to RMT the issues remain unresolved and staff will now strike between Thursday April 10 and Wednesday April 16.

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Rail unions seek review over East Coast privatisation

Three rail unions are calling for a judicial review into the Government's decision to privatise the East Coast mainline.

Review requested into East Coast privatisation
Review requested into East Coast privatisation Credit: Press Association

ASLEF, RMT and TSSA believe that their members’ jobs and conditions, as well as the interests of passengers and taxpayers, are threatened by the Government’s failure to adequately consult over the future of East Coast.

The unions have significant concerns that despite the Brown review of rail franchising recommending that the procurement for rail franchise should take place over a minimum of 24 months, the Government is rushing through the privatisation of East Coast

They argue that, in its haste to push services back into the private sector, the Government has cut corners, including breaching its own commitment to proper consultation of stakeholders, including passenger groups and the rail unions.

ASLEF, RMT and TSSA are conscious of the disastrous end to the InterCity East Coast franchises run by GNER and National Express as well as the Department for Transport mistakes in the InterCity West Coast franchising competition.

The Unions are concerned that there is again the risk that overbidding by private operators and inadequate and rushed evaluation of the bids will, as on previous occasions, lead to cuts to staff and services and even the franchise collapsing again.

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