30/06/2011 North West Tonight


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Good evening. Welcome to North West Tonight with Gordon Burns and


Ranvir Singh our top story: The shut schools, the strikers, the


parents - thousands of teachers and civil servants march across the


North West in a protest over pensions. We are handing over to


the next generation, worse conditions than we had when I was a


young teacher at 30 years ago. There are cuts everywhere, private


and public sector, it is something we have got to live with. Also


tonight: Operating on William - an exclusive


report inside Alder Hey's heart surgery unit. Every minute feels


like an hour. I would be glad when he is dead and we know that he is


OK. -- I will be glad when she is allowed.


Batting for Lancashire - Andrew Flintoff says 'Enough is Enough' on


the delays on developing Old Trafford Cricket Club. And the


Manchester International Festival starts tonight.


They took to the streets in their thousands. Teachers, immigration


officers and court officials stood shoulder to shoulder today to


protest about their pensions. The strikes by teaching and civil


service unions led to huge disruption in the region with many


government services affected and thousands of children forced to


take a day off school. Our political editor Arif Ansari is at


one Manchester school that didn't open today. Arif.


Chorlton High school was closed today. Usually 1500 children would


be working here, but today they couldn't come to school. It left


hundreds of families' lives disrupted just at this school, a


problem magnified across the region. In total three teaching unions were


involved in this strike. And many of them were out picketing,


demonstrating and marching. My colleague Andy Gill joined some of


them on a big protest in Liverpool. Well over a thousand teachers and


other public servants march through Liverpool this lunchtime. They say


they face paying more and working longer for a lower pension. I can't


afford to pay more. My money goes on my mortgage and children. We're


leaving worse conditions for our children and we live in the 5th


richest country in the world. was support for the marchers. But


not universal sympathy. There are cut backs in private and public


sectors. It's inevitable. We don't want to end up like Greece.


government says changes are needed because people are living longer


and need more pension. It says the deal is fair for the wider group of


tax payers. Earlier, some of the marchers were on morning picket


lines. Here at Calderstones School in Liverpool one NUT official was


picketing the school her daughter attends. She is fully supportive of


me. She knows how hard the teachers' work. This dispute is


against the proposed pension changes. The school was closed to


all but sixth formers. Those we spoke to support the strike.


need better teachers with good salaries and better pensions. In


the long term, education would be better. Across Merseyside's five


boroughs, more than 400 schools were wholly or partially closed out


of a total of more than 540. Those marches were not restricted


to Liverpool. I was at a rally in Manchester this afternoon. The


police estimate about 2,000 people were marching and say it all went


peacefully. And it wasn't just teachers, who


else was on strike Arif? This has been a day of widespread


disruption. Let's remember that there are thousands of of public


sector jobs in the North West. And the PCS union which represents


civil servants isn't just worried about pensions, but also job losses.


So this morning I started early in Liverpool at the passport agency.


The PCS says 537 out of 550 staff were on strike. The government says


it was less than 200. And that's a pattern repeated at many other


government offices - Criminal Records Bureau, Revenue and Customs,


Border Agency, Ministry of Defency - the PCS claiming 90 to 95% of


members on strike, the government saying the numbers were far fewer.


The courts were also hit. No cases were heard at Manchester or Bolton


crown courts. Knowsley Magistrates court and Leyland Magistrates court


were shut down. But although there was disruption, the cases were


transferred to other courts. Prison officers are not allowed to go on


strike. But at Manchester Prison, Strangeways, the officers escaped


at lunchtime to demonstrate their support. And that was repeated at


other prisons in the North West. So it's a full scale industrial battle


between unions and the government - what happens next?


Well as we've said there are two main issues - pensions and job cuts.


Take pensions. The government wants to change the rules so that people


in the public sector have to work longer for less money. Why? Because


as the population ages pensions become costlier. This was the


Conservative cabinet minister and Leader of the Commons Sir George


Young earlier. The cost to the taxpayer has gone up by about one-


third in the last year, �32 billion. We want public sector pensions to


remain the best. We don't want a race to the bottom. We need a


sustainable way to fund them in the long term. But other big unions are


gearing up for strikes including the CWU and Unison. If they go


ahead, possibly in early Autumn, then today's strikes would only


feel like an earth tremor. But it's worth remembering that the number


of days lost to strikes is so far actually low compared to recent


years and decades. Later in the programme we'll be


talking to parents in Lancashire about their thoughts on the strike,


and to one striker in his 50s who's taken strike action for the first


time in his life. Last year more than 500 children


had specialist heart surgery at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.


Right now the NHS is reviewing how it delivers children's heart


surgery across the country. It's proposing to replace 11 units with


six or seven larger ones. All four possible options do include Alder


Hey but the hospital says it can take nothing for granted. Our


health correspondent Laura Yates spent the day there to see why it's


so important to have a specialist unit in the north west.


It's 8am on the cardiac surgical ward. Baby Craig's just arrived.


Transferred here late last night from hospital in Manchester. We are


checking that he is OK. He is doing well at the moment. The ward is


full. When four-month-old William was born, the left side of his


heart wasn't working. He's had one operation already. Today is his


second. The chances of going wrong are very small. But any chances


more than enough. 20 minutes later, William goes to theatre.


It is difficult to find a vein to give the anaesthetic and something


so small. The operation is expected to take three hours. They begin.


Because of scar tissue from the first operation, it has taken


Surgeons longer than normal to open up his chest. He has been put on


bypass, a machine that will take over his heart and lung function


while the surgeon's work. We are disconnecting the big vein that


drains the blood to the heart and of putting that to the lungs.


You're trying to get the longs to do some of the work of a heart.


That is correct. Dad Paul, mum Janet, and sister Katie are all


here and all nervous. Every minute felt so long. In reality, it has


gone so quick, but thinking about it, it feels like a lifetime.


now the NHS is carrying out a public consultation into plans to


change the way children's heart surgery is provided. It wants to


replace 11 specialist units with six or seven. All four possible


options include Alder Hey, but Louise Shepherd, the hospital's


Chief Executive says it can't take anything for granted. It is our


opportunity to say this is a really valuable service, vital for the


children in the area and we want to keep it in Liverpool. It's now half


past four and William's operation is finally over. He goes straight


to intensive care where he'll spend the night. The surgery's taken six


and a half hours. Far longer than expected. We had to reconstruct the


arteries from left to right and there was bleeding afterwards, so


we had to sort be dead. He is doing well. As the day continues there


are more new admissions to the ward. Empty beds quickly filled for


another night in hospital. Well that was yesterday and today


Laura's checked on William who is very poorly and had to go back into


surgery this afternoon. We are thinking of him and his family.


More of the regions news stories now. The Pensions Regulator has


confirmed it's investigating the deal surrounding the sale of


Silentnight. The deal pulled the Barnoldswick company back from the


brink of collapse, but it gave new owners no responsibility to meet


the firm's pension commitments. The investigation will ask if the


collapse was genuine, or a way to offload the pension.


The Government has failed to stop a negligence claim brought by the


family of a Manchester soldier killed in Iraq. Private Lee Ellis


from Wythenshawe, died when a Snatch Land Rover was blown up five


years ago. Legal action brought on behalf of his 10-year-old daughter


claims the Ministry of Defence failed to provide properly armoured


vehicles. A judge today threw out a Government attempt to stop the case.


The Liverpool-based TJ Hughes discount store chain officially


went into administration today. There are fears that many of its


4,000 jobs could now be lost. Two days ago, the owners warned they


couldn't keep the business going after losing ten million pounds in


the past year. Administrators, Ernst and Young, are trying to find


a buyer. Former England and Lancashire


cricketer Andrew Flintoff has called on a billionnaire developer


challenging the redevelopment of Lancashire County Cricket Club to


drop his appeal. In an exclusive TV interview, Flintoff told North West


Tonight "enough is enough" and says the court case on Monday is a


massive concern for him and the club. But not everyone wants the


appeal to fail. Abbie Jones reports. 153 years of history line


Lancashire's walls. Lots of history, and if we don't survive the court


case, this will not survive. Among the cricketing legends here, Andrew


Flintoff. Used to stepping up to the crease for Lancashire. Now,


stepping up to the cameras for them. It is a massive concern, not for


myself, but for the club as well. The plans have been submitted, it


is dragging on and on, and it is not benefiting Lancashire cricket.


We want to get the credit back to Old Trafford. Let us get on with


the development, that is what we want to do, thousands of people in


the county want this to. everyone. The 70 million pound


redevelopment would see new stands, pitches and more capacity. Without


it the club says it - and North West test cricket - is finished.


But it would be partly financed by Tesco, with a vast store on this


site. Isle of Man billionnaire Albert Gubay believes this is


hugely unfair. He wants to build a rival supermarket on his retail


site next door, but was refused. is not the intention to stop the


new cricket stand being built at Old Trafford. It is just that we


believe we're doing the right thing. The hopes of others are also


resting on Gubay's appeal. There is a huge amount of local opposition


because this store will impact local traders and small shops that


would be squeezed out, and it will mean more congestion. Lancashire


say the appeal is costing them five million pounds. Money from staging


concerts here is becoming increasingly vital. The financial


situation? How desperate is the financial situation? It is really


desperate, we do not know where it will be. This club will soon be


moving in a different direction. Monday's appeal will decide which


way that will go. Take Johnny Vegas, add Victoria


Wood and hip hop's Snoop Dogg and throw in a controversial


performance artist from Serbia and what have you got? The Manchester


International festival. It starts tonight with a performance by Bjork,


her first appearance in the UK for three years. Stuart Flinders is in


Albert Square, renamed Festival Square for the duration of the


event. Stuart. Do you Know What by Oath LEA means?


It is a love of life, and it is the name given to Bjork's performance


tonight. It celebrates sound and nature exploring the infinite


expanse of the universe. She is using instruments that had been


invented especially for this show. We can listen to one of these now,


it is called a sharp the court. It Bjork gets the festival starting


tonight. This is the Festival Square, you have got the big tent


where you can get a drink, and this is the glass house, it gives you an


unusual perspective because we are higher up, and you can see the town


hall. Lots of other performers, Victoria Wood will be on. And Alex


is the man behind all of this, the director for the third time of the


festival. A glutton for punishment! One show, I dread to mention it,


the satellite has gone down the last time we mentioned it, this is


about Doctor Dee, a 16th century alchemist. Damon Holburn wrote it.


This was one of the big figures in the Elizabethan court to. His


ambition was to have his own empire and was seen as a wizard of the age.


He is largely forgotten now because he harnessed the world and try to


communicate with the angels. It all went wrong for him. And Marie


Abramovich is back, the performance artist. This is all about her life


and death. It stars Willem Defoe. Some big names. Thank you. Good


luck with the festival. It is called the International Festival,


let's have an international perspective from the Director of


the jury in Madrid. The Manchester Festival became really central in


the art world. It was like when you create it at the Venice Festival.


Everybody wants to go there now even though it was unknown at the


beginning. And Radio Manchester well get it kicking off tonight.


are here every night and 10pm. We have got review was going out from


10pm tonight. We're out of time, back to the studio.


Thank you. Now let's go back to today's


strikes. Thousands of children enjoyed an extra day off school


because of today's strike. But that meant a headache for many parents.


Some had to take unpaid leave themselves - others had to make


hurried arrangements to ensure their kids were cared for. Our


Chief Reporter, Dave Guest, has been finding out how some of them


coped. The start of another working day


for this family. The husband-and- wife work together, but today, it


was truly a family affair as they were joined by their daughters.


Their school in Fleetwood had to close because of the strike, so


there was no alternative but for them to spend the day at work with


mum and dad's. It is an internet marketing company N Lancaster.


is a nuisance, we have no child care cover, our parents have passed


away, so we have nobody to look after the children. Fortunately,


our bosses understanding. children see their teachers as role


models, and when things aren't going their way, they don't going


to work! My sympathy for the people on strike? Not a pretty clearly,


people have it hard at the moment, I have no pension, my wages have


not increased. We have enough to keep you busy all day? Probably


not? Other parents found other ways of keeping the children occupied.


For example, this activity centre in Preston was far busier than


normal. They should be at school, but we had to bring them here.


the teachers to go on strike for one day, it's ridiculous. If that


is what they need to do, then that is what they have to do. They are


all wondering if they will have to do this again in the coming months.


Today was tough for parents who had to take the day off work. Tough for


the unemployed who couldn't use the job centre. But some of those on


strike found it tough too. For members of the Association of


Teachers and Lecturers, walking out was a difficult decision. It's a


union that has never gone on strike in its one hundred and twenty seven


year history. Until today. Here's Jayne Barrett.


This is the type of the Union where they start to strike with a slice


of cake! The kind of union where they apologise for inconvenience


with a chocolate. Mark Baker has been a teacher for 30 years and has


never been on strike in 127 years, neither has his union. The very


reason he joined. Why would any body in a normal profession that


was respected by Abbas be going on strike? -- respected by others.


you feel differently now? Yes, the Government action has been quite


shameful. We should get our pension! Do they enjoy a gold-


plated pension or has Mark says, an average pension of �9,000 per year?


He thinks the Government is punching below the belt and that is


why year's marching. They were not honest with us or the public in


saying what the problem is. They are nothing to do with teachers


living longer, it is about how can the Government that is short of


cash raised some money? It is plain theft in the mind of a teacher.


first in 127 years of union history, perhaps not the last.


Loads of reaction from you at home on this. Alan Butler emailed to say


- I do not agree with people who have 11 weeks paid holiday a year


going on strike to protect a pension that is funded by the rest


of us. Donald Brockbank writes - my wife


is a teacher. She has to work another 11 years before she can


have the pension. I'm really angry politicians are still getting there


nice big pensions and the bankers who caused the crisis still getting


�1 million bonuses! Iain Marsh who works in the private


sector says on Facebook - all pension funds suffered in the


financial meltdown. It's a universal problem. Would you be


happy to see your taxes bolster my pension scheme in the private


sector? Ian Edmundson says - if you take


the job, you've taken the deal. I expect the deal I've signed up to,


to be kept to. I've done over 30 years with my employer and am


absolutely incensed at what this government are doing to us. Let us


know what you think. This story will be with us for quite some time.


Just before we go to the weather, there's just time for us to report


another great day for Stockport tennis prodigy Liam Broady at


Wimbledon. After beating the world number one in the boys singles


yesterday, the 17-year-old booked a place in the semi finals with a 7-6,


4-6, 13-11 win over Germany's Robin Fantastic! There was cheering and


the museum! He got it in the end. Well done to him. Now, the weather.


Good evening, we had some showers through the morning, but it has


been nice this afternoon with lots of sunshine. Temperatures still a


bit disappointing for this time of the air. 18 Celsius was the best we


saw today. For Friday, more of the saints. An improving picture.


Temperatures by Saturday and Sunday and many places, I suspect, should


just about reached 20 Celsius. No where near as warm as it was last


weekend. This evening, a fine evening. Lots of late-evening


sunshine coming your way as the sky clears. Clear skies in the


overnight period, so a chilly night on the way as the cloud fades away.


A light north-westerly wind in some places. The clear skies in rural


areas. Temperatures could drop close to freezing. Tamara, a chilly


start, generally a dry day with lots of cloud. Starting off dry and


chilli and bright. Into the afternoon, but cloud will just


slowly seeping from the West. Hazy sunshine tomorrow afternoon. A


pleasant day. A quiet state. Temperatures around 18 degrees.


Just below average for this time of the year. Into the weekend, I


pressure continuing to build about holding the front that. The front


at either side, squeezing in some cloud for Saturday. Saturday will


start dry and cloudy. Occasional spots of rain in places. Cloudy and


hazy but a warmer day with temperatures as high as 27 Celsius


and for Sunday, 21 degrees likely in Manchester and Chester.


Temperatures still just in the high But each will sunshine earlier


today. Let's go back to Stuart or where they are getting ready for


the festival. Not ready yet. They are relying on a lot of people


turning appear to have a drink. People coming here run their way


home from work. You can get food over there. If you can't get here,


you can follow all of the action on BBC Radio Manchester. That is at


10pm tonight. You can catch up on the BBC website. It all starts


tonight with Bjork. I had a sneak preview of what Bjork does today,


she has launched her album today as a series of applications on arrive


on. -- on Euro iPhones. I would be treating tonight the


from Bjork and after words. -- I will be on Twitter tonight from


Bjork. And BBC Radio Manchester will be


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