#StopandFix #UniversalCredit action in Oxford St at 2pm on December 2

Please join our creative #StopandFix #UniversalCredit action on Oxford St at 2pm on December 2nd.

Meet 2pm at Costa Coffee: Directions – Oxford Circus Tube then Exit 1 then walk  2 mins down Oxford St and turn left to Great Portland St.

We have: Street Theatre involving banners, placards, Theresa May!, Xmas Crackers, Xmas UC singalong, mince pies….and much more….any more ideas?

Our demos on December 2nd are to educate the public on the devastating effect of UC to get them behind our #StopandFix #UniversalCredit campaign.

Travel will be reimbursed.

Please confirm your attendance by emailing

Tony.Winchester@unitetheunion. org

 

Network Rail plans to sell off assets

Responding to the news today (17 Nov) that Network Rail and the government are proposing to sell off their Commercial Estate business.

Said TSSA leader, Manuel Cortes:

“Selling off our national assets is always a dubious economic good. But selling off railway arches really is a sign the Tories don’t get how to run a railway or an economy.

“The spaces between our railway arches are not fattened pigs to be sold at market as the Tories seem to think.. To Network Rail those spaces in between spin the revenues by which they earn money to subsidise the public cost of maintaining railway infrastructure – including the arches. Every pound generated from letting railway arches is a pound saved for U.K. taxpayers.

“We are seeking assurances from NR that the maintenance and repair of the arches will not be compromised. It does not seem sensible to TSSA that the very ground that our railway runs on is sold from beneath the wheels. Who will now pay for essential repairs when they are required? How and who will now guarantee the safety of the infrastructure?

“If this crazy sale goes ahead we hope that the new landlords do not rack rents causing misery to the many small businesses that currently let the arches.”

TSSA will do all we can to oppose the privatisation of NR assets. Should the government get their way, we will fight to ensure TUPE protection for the terms and conditions of our members forced into the private sector. Staff must not pay the bill for the governments reckless short sightedness

Peace and Political Violence in Colombia

Join JFC and Alborada for a special meeting:

Peace and Political Violence in Colombia

Tuesday 21 November, 5.30-7pm
Discus Room, Unite House
128 Theobalds Road
London WC1X 8TN

In November 2016, the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed an agreement to end over half a century of armed conflict. One year on, several areas of the peace agreement have yet to be implemented, particularly on land reform, and politically-motivated violence continues to impact civil society. The State has failed to uphold measures to guarantee security stipulated in the agreement. While the FARC has given in its weapons and transformed into a legal political party, almost 30 of its members and 11 relatives have been murdered since peace was signed. In addition, over 120 social and political activists have been killed so far in 2017. With presidential elections scheduled in 2018, what does the future hold for Colombia?

Join us for a special meeting on key developments and challenges in the Colombian peace process.

Speakers:

Enrique Santiago – Legal Adviser in the Colombian Peace Process and architect of the Peace Agreement’s ground-breaking Transitional Justice Mechanism

Mariela Kohon – Director of Justice for Colombia and International Adviser to the FARC in the peace process

Mark Burton – Human Rights lawyer representing FARC prisoner Simón Trinidad, held in the US since 2004

Chair:

Mick Whelan – General Secretary, ASLEF and Chair, Justice for Colombia

Tuesday 21st November, 5.30pm – 7.00pm 
Discus Room, Unite House
128 Theobald’s Road
London WC1X 8TN 

You can register online for tickets but these are limited. More tickets will be available on the door on a first-come-first-served basis.

Visit the Facebook event page.

www.justiceforcolombia.org/

www.alborada.net/

www.unitetheunion.org/

www.marchapatriotica.org/

An Evening of Solidarity with Academics & Teachers in Turkey – 23 November 2017

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) fundraising event on 23 November 2017 at 18:30 at the National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House, Mander Hall, WC1H 9BD.  Tickets are £20 (waged) and £10 (unwaged).
For the past two years SPOT has been working with campaigners, journalists, academics and trade unions to support the struggle for democracy in Turkey. Our work is significant for friends in Turkey facing persecution for standing up for basic rights and freedoms.
This fundraising event provides a chance for us to network and raise some funds for the families of all academics and teachers who have been under immense attack by the Turkish state. Proceeds will both support affected families and the continuing struggle for academic freedom and democracy in Turkey.
This event is wholly prepared and put together by volunteers and our friends in the trade union movement in UK. The success of this event relies on the generosity of supportive individuals and organisations. All proceeds will go to Egtim-Sen Union in Turkey.
We hope to see you all at the event.
You can purchase your ticket on Eventbrite:

Sexism in Schools: It’s just everywhere

Tuesday December 12th
6.15pm – 7.45pm
Houses of Parliament Westminster Committee Room 2 London SW1A  0AA
Register at Eventbrite Sexism in Schools-“It’s just everywhere” -the National Education Union and UK Feminista are proud to launch their timely report on sexism in schools. The research carried out by Warwick University surveyed students and teachers in secondary schools and teachers in the primary sector.
Please join us for the launch to find out what students and teachers told us about their everyday experiences of sexism in schools and to discuss with our MPs how we tackle it together.
“It happens everywhere, school is no exception and it has become the everyday norm, which I find unacceptable.” Female student

Reclaiming Education 2017. A National Education Service – what should it mean? Held on 11 November 2017

The conference was called under the umbrella of Reclaiming Education, an alliance of organisations including the Socialist Education Association, CASE and ALLFIE, the Alliance for Inclusive Education.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Labour’s plans for a National Education Service. So the major focus should have been Labour’s 10 point Charter for a NES. Curiously, the Charter was distributed at the Conference but was not directly discussed. This was a missed opportunity.

The Conference heard from a range of speakers discussing interesting aspects of the various phases of an overall education service – early years, higher education, further education and schools. To have such an overarching and broad sweep of education was clearly a good approach.

Speakers from 2 political parties addressed the conference. Jonathan Bartley from the Greens spoke out about inclusive education and in support of the NEU (National Education Union) policy on academisation, privatisation and selection. Scrap SATS, abolish Ofsted, get rid of academies, were his rallying calls. By contrast, Mike Watson, the Labour education spokesperson in the House of Lords, was much more equivocal and was not as explicit on these issues. He came across as weak.

On early years, we were treated to an interesting presentation on early childhood brain development. From this presentation it became clear that the early years education approach should be more play-based and not formal and rigid and test-based as the case is now. Furthermore, to have an early years baseline assessment was also called into question.

On higher education, we heard about the need to avoid the artificial and negative distinction between the ‘elite’ universities and the rest. And that universities shouldn’t be just for young people.

As far as further education was concerned, the speaker made a case for changing the way that students pay fees but did not call for or discuss the abolition of fees. Of course the demand for fees to be abolished has been made by students themselves. In the light of this it was pointed out from the floor that the conference should have invited representation from the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts so that the voice of progressive students could have been aired.

The Conference was addressed by Save Our Schools, a Brighton based parents’ group which operates in a similar way to Rescue Our Schools here in London. Save our Schools has done very useful work with headteachers and the local community on the issue of reversing the cuts to education. Area based parents’ groups like SOS operate on their own but also liaise on an informal level with other groups nationally.

 

Kevin Courtney of the NEU spoke on the issues facing schools. He said that in the last election 750,000 people changed their vote because of their disgust about cuts to schools budgets. There is a massive crisis, he pointed out. The main elements of this crisis are:

  • Funding, of course
  • The massive scandals around academies. Lack of accountability and financial mismanagement come to mind, and
  • Assessment or more accurately, ‘misassessment’ in which official tests focus on the wrong things in the wrong way and even at the wrong stage of a child’s development.

Kevin urged us to be bold as we take forward the campaign on education in our areas.

A number of very interesting documents were distributed at the meeting. All of these deserve to be discussed by serious activists. They are:

  • Labour’s 10 point Charter for a NES. It makes this commitment: “The National Education Service shall provide education that is free at the point of use, available universally and throughout life”.
  • Manifesto by Rescue Our Schools (a parents organisation). “The world’s most successful education systems have no selection and there’s no evidence it [selection] improves standards or life chances.”
  • 10 Goals by Education Forward. The first goal is “schools should be judged on a much broader set of outcomes (eg students’ resourcefulness; their ability to engage with political, economic and ecological issues; their confidence with digital technologies; their enjoyment of reading)…”
  • A position paper by Reclaiming Education – “The focus of education should be collaboration rather than competition”, is one of the many good points it makes.
  • A proposed Inclusive Education statement distributed by Islington Constituency Labour Party. In the present system, “any child or young person who does not reach the arbitrarily determined standards for their age is vulnerable to exclusion”, it states.
  • A proposed resolution for NEU Conference 2018 on Inclusive Education submitted in the name of Hackney NEU/NUT. It urges us to mount a “Campaign to ensure sufficient and mandatory training for all beginner and in-service teachers on how to implement inclusive education of SEND students in their classrooms and schools.”

The conference had many positives. Let’s build on them.

30 Years Since the Kings Cross Fire

Today is the 30th anniversary of the tragic Kings Cross fire. Anniversaries are a time to take stock. This weekend we will remember the 31 who lost their lives going about their daily commute.

After the Grenfell disaster it is shocking that, in the latest round of massive cuts announced last week by Transport for London and London Underground, they have stated their intention to slice a further 10% or £3million from their health and safety budget. Sadly, the safety standards Fennell tried to build into the rail system which required all stations to be staffed, have been abandoned by managers and their Tory political masters who prioritise rail returning profits over transporting passengers safely.

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