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Community and unions join forces

Alan Somerville and Jenny Henry play the bagpipes during the jail thank you barbecue at Jacaranda Park on Sunday.
Alan Somerville and Jenny Henry play the bagpipes during the jail thank you barbecue at Jacaranda Park on Sunday. Debrah Novak

GRAFTON has written a new textbook on how to fight bad government decisions, Clarence Valley Community Unions' Tony King said yesterday.

Speaking at Jacaranda Park at the thank you barbecue organised on behalf of those affected by the Grafton Jail downsizing, Mr King said Clarence Valley Community Unions was about the community and unions fighting together and the model would be rolled out across the state.

Sharryn Usher from Clarence Valley Community Unions, who was employed as a teacher at Grafton Jail said yesterday's barbecue felt a bit like deja vu from the picket line with sausages, bagpipes and the trusty coffee van which had visited during the hours outside the jail.

"We wanted to show our appreciation for the wonderful support on the picket line," she said.

"We didn't win that fight but we made a lot of gains as a community."

She said despite the uplifted mood in the community, some of the staff were still uncertain about their future.

"Many are facing the possibility of leaving this community." .

Public Service Association assistant general secretary Shane O'Brien, who stayed at the picket line through the protest, made the trip back for the thank you barbecue and was presented with a photo of himself in front of the jail to remind him of Grafton.

"I've not had any experiences like this in 17 years as a union official and I doubt whether I ever will again," Mr O'Brien said.

"I'll always remember Grafton and that you were prepared to let me, an outsider, help you."

 

Meeting

There will be a community forum on August 15 at South Grafton Ex-Services Club.

Topics:  clarence valley, community, grafton jail, unions


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