Draft Agenda for Monthly Meeting on 12th of July 2018

Agenda for Monthly Meeting on 12th of July 2018

7pm at Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, Finchley

07:00 PM


Attendance and apologies

07:05 PM


Review minutes of previous meeting

07:10 PM


Matters Arising from the Minutes

07:15 PM


Solidarity with the Bin Workers

07:45 PM



08:00 PM



08:20 PM


Any Other Business and Delegates Motions

08:30 PM


Meeting Ends

Please submit other business to the secretary before 5pm on the 11th.

Proposed motion: Climate change motion to Barnet TUC

TUC London East and South East region notes – that the south east is suffering from the effects of climate change. More frequent flooding in the Thames Valley, rising sea levels threatening the Thames barrier and coastal erosion on the east coast, as well as the negative health effects of particulate pollution in urban and industrial areas. It also notes the historic climate motion passed unanimously at TUC’s 2017 Congress calling for energy democracy, a just transition to a sustainable future which protects current fossil fuel workers, insulation of homes, meeting carbon reduction targets, divestment of pension funds from fossil fuels, reduction of transport emissions and rights for environmental workplace reps.

TUC London East and South East region agrees that it is essential that Trade Unions engage members on these issues, to look at positive alternatives for future employment, and to campaign for one million new public sector jobs. At a time when fossil fuel jobs are in decline at and at risk through automation, we need a 21st century infrastructure plan to actively cut carbon emissions and create sustainable employment . This would include housing retrofitting, renewable energy, public transport, training, sustainable agriculture, and at the same time give a boost to UK steel production.

Therefore TUC London East and South East region resolves to:

a) Create a detailed plan and campaign for the climate jobs needed in the region

b)Affiliate to the CACC and participate in the TU group

c)Create a SERTUC Environmental Sustainability and Just Transition sub-group


250 words (excluding title)

Proposed motion: Heathrow

This conference recognises that there is significant popular and trade union opposition to the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport. We note that there remain significant doubts about the impacts of this development on noise levels and air quality in London and beyond, and on Britain’s commitments to reduce emissions of climate changing gases.

The main beneficiary will be (overseas-owned) Heathrow Airport Holdings, consolidating Heathrow’s dominant place among UK airports and damaging economic growth in Britain’s regions. The disbenefits of the airport expansion will fall disproportionately on poorer communities, particularly those in social housing, but with 70% of flights taken by 15% of the population, the expansion will be for the benefit of the few not the many. The plans for the third runway would substantially increase the number of schools currently affected by noise over the WHO recommended limits which we know will impact on health and learning.

While SERTUC is committed to protecting jobs and to sustainable future employment, we believe the claims about jobs are highly questionable and there are more effective opportunities to invest in growth that would have more equitable benefits and avoid catastrophic environmental effects.

The trade union movement should demand that the Labour Party adopts an alternative transport policy, developed in conjunction with the trade unions, that seeks to reduce demand for first and business class air travel by introducing a significant tax on this luxury air travel, making better use of existing airport capacity at London and regional airports and maintains a well-resourced and affordable rail network. The policy would promote alternative and more sustainable modes of transport to replace domestic and short-haul European luxury flying. We should also encourage and support research into green technologies including more fuel efficient and quieter aeroplanes and require airlines to adopt this technology, when it becomes available. Finally, if any workers loose their jobs as a consequence of these measures, then they should be given appropriate retraining and given some sort of priority, when applying for more environmentally friendly jobs.

This would be part of the creation of a million climate jobs in a just transition to a low carbon economy that will facilitate a more sustainable use of resources, protect the environment and delivers sustainable, high quality and highly skilled jobs.

1,041 words (excluding title)

Motion: London Renters’ Union

London’s three million renters pay the highest rents in Europe, and often get nothing but second rate housing and dangerous conditions in return. As renters, we never know when we may be forced to move, and we face the prospect for renting for our entire lives, raising families and growing old without a secure place to call home.

Absurdly, we enjoy better consumer rights when buying a fridge than when renting a home. Tenancies may be as short as six months, and landlords can end a tenancy or raise the rent at a moment’s notice. Rented homes aren’t even legally required to be fit for human habitation.

This is all the result of policy choices that promote property as an investment over people’s need for homes. Our housing system is actively helping a few to get rich while many others lose out. On average London’s renters spend half their income on rent. This pushes people on low incomes and in precarious work further into poverty while landlords, property firms and investors rake in profits.

Across the capital, we see homelessness on the rise and people being forced to leave the area where they live. Migrant communities face particularly acute problems finding housing, alongside those on housing benefits who too often face unfair discrimination.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Across Europe, renters have won protection from eviction, long term tenancies and rent caps. We can do the same here.

Renters are more than a convenient source of income for property investors – we’re people who need homes in which we can live and thrive. That’s why we back the London Renters Union, a new fighting union that aims to reboot the housing system in favour of renters. By standing and organising together, renters can win better conditions and affordable rents and ensure that everyone has a decent, secure place to call home.

This trades councils votes to affiliate to the London Renters Union and to take this motion to the Greater London Assembly of Trade Unions.

1,069 words (excluding title)

Report on a useful TUC London, Eastern and South Eastern regional meeting

LESE, as it is now known, had a pretty useful meeting today, so those of us that were willing to not be at the football or Pride were able to say it wasn’t a wasted morning.

In addition to some good motions on abortion rights (pushing for women in Northern Ireland to gain these rights following the success of the Irish referendum) and setting up a homes and housing sub-committee, my own union, TSSA, moved a well-received motion on ‘climate jobs’. As the world sweats in a record-breaking heatwave, our regional TUC has now resolved create a sub-group on environmental sustainability and just-transition for workers and create a detailed plan for creating climate jobs. A further TSSA motion, urging a reconsideration of hugely controversial third runway at Heathrow, was ruled out-of-order because the TUC nationally supports the runway, but a long-standing TSSA activist with air traffic experience did get the opportunity to explain the union’s concerns that, in addition to the serious environmental case against the third runway, the employment and transport infrastructural case are also questionable. Ultimately, Heathrow has a bloated air traffic agenda because airlines are businesses that chase profits: a third runway does not fix this.

The first guest speaker was Phillipa Harvey, an NEU executive member and leading activist with Palestine Solidarity Campaign. She urged that the unions’ support for Palestinian rights remains as essential as ever. The relocation of the US embassy by Donald Trump in to Jerusalem has resulted in a massive crackdown in paltry autonomy Palestinians had up to recently had in the West Bank, as witnessed by the recent brutal destruction of a traditional Bedouin village. Imprisonment of children, currently highly controversial in America, is extremely common in Israel. But no situation is more serious than that of Gaza, the scene of so many killings of unarmed people by the Israeli army, which is estimated to become unliveable in just 18 months. Without urgent action by the international community, things will undoubtedly reach new levels of horror in Palestine.

The last guest speaker was particularly interesting. Victor Figueroa is former LSE academic who has been working with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to produce a study of the impact of new technology on transport work and workers worldwide. The full report will be out in September, but Victor gave us a digested preview. His finding is that the main narrative – that new tech is primarily about automation, that 100% automation is unstoppable and that this either the best or worst thing ever (depending on who you ask) – is largely a marketable fiction. In reality, automation is constantly running into limitations (no, crew-less freight ships aren’t coming) and never completely eliminates labour (‘fully automated’ warehouses have almost 50% of the staff they had pre-upgrade). Automation and AI are also not as important, in many ways, as data, but not enough people in the international labour movement have considered data and they need to talk about it more. The most important thing said to us about technology is that whether it is a good or bad thing is absolutely dependant on who uses it and how they use it: capitalism will not create a utopia with technology, it will use it make profits and this will mean that new tech it introduces will exacerbate existing inequalities. It is with this knowledge that our movement should seek to create it’s own alternatives and this has to be a combination of worker’s organising and progressive governments and movements demanding strong regulation of how tech is used. The extract report is here:ITF – Transport Workers Building Power

The TUC Transport Industry Network, which I attend, is looking to hold a major event on automation in September, and the sorts of findings that the IFT have produced can hopefully feed into this, as can the ideas about transition to sustainable jobs.

A Brief Report on the Annual General Meeting of BAPS

The Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) met on 4th of July, in what was effectively a relaunch for one of London’s longest running local anti-austerity organisations. The time could not be more right for the return of this grouping.

Keen as ever to emphasise the strong ties between community organisations and the trade union movement, there were two invited speakers from the unions. Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of RMT, drew strong comparisons between BAPS’ struggle over services with RMT’s battles in the transport sector. Not only is privatisation, to big businesses that asset strip and repeatedly fail, a common theme but so also is the axing of workers who are essential to vulnerable people. This is as true of station staff and train conductors as it is of librarians and local care workers – and our movement should fight to retain all these grades. Steve finished by contrasting the left and the labour movement’s genuine concern for protecting the innocent with the false narrative currently being peddled by the hard right who are making a false cause out of it, and he urged everyone to attend the anti-fascist demo on July 14th.

Steve Day then spoke from the Baker’s Union (BFAWU) about the ongoing ‘McStrike’, and it was great to get an update. Since a mere 47 workers launched their action, down the road from where we were meeting at McDonald’s HQ in Finchley, one of the biggest employers in the world has been forced to concede a 6.5% pay rise for almost 200 thousand workers in Britain. The campaign to organise and improve the conditions of McDonald’s workers continues, and Day concluded by saying there would be a lot more of our tax revenue to pay for public services if some much wasn’t currently having to be paid as in-work welfare to subsidise absurdly the absurdly low pay large companies pay to service staff.

After the two guests, we had the more familiar faces of local “Mr Reasonable” blogger, John Dix, and Barnet Labour council group leader, Barry Rawlings. John reiterated that since the election, the news regarding the state of council finances just doesn’t stop getting worse. Cuts the Tories had initially estimated as totally £9 million are now looking more like £20 million (when John asked why the Tories were so caught off-gaurd by this, despite officers in Barnet being aware in February, he was told that Tory leader Richard Cornelius “doesn’t read reports”). The never-ending farce of payments to Capita (to say nothing of actual fraud) add completely unacceptably to this. Even when savings to their expensive provisions are found, Capita claim back 40% savings as “gain-share” – literal money for nothing! John said that on July 19th, when the Tories have been forced into having a council meeting to review options regarding Capita, good sense would call for so-called Option 3: bring it all back to the public sector. Barry, and numerous other Labour councillors from the borough, reiterated that the Tories are rampantly breaching election pledges, while doggedly supporting a national government that is directly responsible for lack of council funding, and called for pressure on Tory councillors and MPs to be maintained.

The next steps in the campaign, then are to unite our forces for Option 3. There will be a cultural launch, featuring the start of the Barnet Wall, on Friday the 13th at West Hendon’s Midland Pub. The big push for campaigning will be to get people to protest at Hendon Town Hall on Wednesday the 19th at 6pm.


Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK’s Co-operative Sector

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has launched an independent report, commissioned by the Co-operative Party, which sets out an ambitious vision for our co-operative movement.

‘Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK Co-operative Sector’, calls for significant expansion in the co-operative sector, and outlines five steps that policymakers could take to achieve this aim.

Read more and help us spread the word using the links below:

Are we on the brink of victory or will it be a missed opportunity? – The future of Capita in Barnet by Mr Reasonable

On Friday, Barnet made an admission, a big admission; an admission that Capita is not delivering for Barnet. For me that comes as no surprise. I have been concerned about the scale and complexity of this contract since 2011 when the first clear contractual details emerged.

Sadly they are leaving a number of services with Capita that are either; under-performing; costing a fortune; or where Capita add little or no value.

Full blog here.

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