Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... Unison vs Highland Council

Protesters: Unison
Target: Highland Council
Location: Inverness
Date: 10 February

The lowdown

More than 100 people gathered at Highland Council's headquarters to protest against proposed cuts. Musicians playing violins and accordions were joined by parents carrying placards that read 'Save Our Classroom Assistants' in support of the music school. More than 8,000 signatures were gathered for a petition, including those of Alastair Campbell and MP George Galloway.

- Why the protests?

The protests coincided with a council meeting to decide whether to withdraw £300,000 granted to the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, while also ending 344 classroom assistants' posts in primary schools.

- How did the council respond?

The council agreed a compromise whereby savings targets for the year were reduced by more than £500,000, thus saving the classroom assistants' posts. However, councillors agreed to withdraw the cash from the music centre from next July. Councillor David Alston said: 'We have been faced with an enormously difficult situation. I think we have dealt with this as best we can ... Many other councils are facing much worse decisions than us today.'

- Media treatment

The story was picked up by the BBC's Highlands and Islands news page. Elsewhere, Ross-shire Journal covered the story, as did The Northern Times.

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