Author Archives: Kieran Crowe

ePetition – Sort out Barnet’s bins

We the undersigned petition the council to Sort out the current bin collection problems, drop plans to charge for green waste collections and make a firm commitment to restoring a separate food waste collection service.

As a result of new bin collection arrangements introduced on 4 November 2018, collections are being missed across the borough, with some residents having no collections for several weeks. The backlog of collections is often leading to the council disposing of recyling along with general waste. In addition to plans to charge for green waste collections and stopping the separate food waste collection service, these changes are bad for the environment and will further cut the council’s recycling rate.

Labour councillors are proposing the petition on behalf of residents.

Photo credit: Zara Winstone

Primark: Pay the Living Wage!

We the employees of Primark, believe that the living wage should be paid for the labour we provide. Sign the petiton.

The current London Living Wage is £10.55 and £9.00 for the rest of the country. But the wage store assistants receive, at the Primark Marble Arch store, is £8.09 per hour. That’s £2.46 less every hour, than than the suggested amount. The London Living Wage is a fair wage that enables people to not just survive but to live. Primark has a responsibility to its over 70,000 employees, to provide a living wage.

Primark currently holds the second largest market share of clothing retail in the UK. Within the last year profits rose 15% from £735 million to £843 million.

We believe Primark should be a leader in wages just as it is a leader in retail market. Employees wages should reflect the success of the company. If companies such as IKEA and LUSH can provide a living wage there is no reason for Primark not to.

Primark does increase wages every April: in 2018 they increased the pay by 18 pence per hour. Meaning Primark’s hourly wage increased by 2.2% compared to Primark profits which increased by 15%. This does not reflect the value of labour we provide.

A year ago a petition was handed in internally at the Marble Arch store. There has been no official response to this so we feel it is time to make a public petition.

We know there are workers at Primark working full-time, struggling to make ends meet for their families, even with support from the Government. Primark rely on the Government to subsidise their workforce in effect. A pay rise to the living wage would show that Primark can lead the way in being a responsible employer, recognising the true value of its workforce.

When one brand changes its business, others see and follow suit. A company as big and influential as Primark switching to paying the Living Wage would have an effect on other companies around it. If you care about working rights then please sign this petition.

It is time workers got the pay they deserve for the labour that they do.

Jeremy Corbyn: The people need an election

The Brexit deal Theresa May has negotiated is a bad deal and Labour will vote against it next week.

If the government can’t pass its most important legislation then there must be a general election.

The real divide in our country is not between those who voted to remain in the EU and those who voted to leave. It’s between the many – who do the work, create the wealth and pay taxes – and the few – who set the rules, reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes.

I put it like this: if you’re living in Tottenham, you may well have voted to remain. You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch, you may be on Universal Credit and forced to use a food bank. You’re up against it.

If you’re living in Mansfield, you’re likely to have voted to leave. You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch, you may be on Universal Credit and forced to use a food bank. You’re up against it.

But you’re not against each other.

Only Labour can bring people together based on their common interests. Whether they voted to leave or remain, people know that the system isn’t working for them.

Because it’s a system rigged against the many, to protect the interests of the few – that’s the real cause of inequality and insecurity in Tottenham, Mansfield and across the country.

That’s why an election is so urgent – and why we must win it. And what will make the difference? Your campaigning and your energy.

So in a speech today in Wakefield, I sent the prime minister a message: if you’re so confident in your deal, call the election, and let the people decide.

But if you don’t, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government, at the moment when we judge it has the best chance of success.

If we can’t get an election, then we’ll keep all options on the table, including campaigning for a public vote, as our members decided at Conference last September.

But an election is the best outcome because it enables us to tackle the Tories’ cuts to public services, their awful Universal Credit, rising homelessness, and all the other issues that are damaging our communities.

Together, we have the chance to transform our country for the many, not the few.

Thailand: Railway workers fight for justice – support the online campaign

The leaders of Thailand’s State Railway Workers Union (SRUT) have faced dismissals and enormous fines because of their efforts to point out unsafe working conditions on the country’s railways.

In a story dating back to a fatal derailment back in 2009, the international trade union movement, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have stood by the trade union leaders — as has the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Last year, Thailand’s Supreme Labour Court ordered seven union leaders to pay damages amounting to nearly three-quarters of a million US dollars.

At the request of the SRUT and the ITF, LabourStart has launched a campaign calling on the Thai government and the employer to drop the claims against the union, and to return their back pay and benefits.  Please show your support here:

http://www.labourstart.org/go/srut

And please share this message with your friends, family and fellow union members.

Jetpacks, Robots and the Radical Politics of Technology

A day workshop – 11:00-16:30 Sunday 27 January 2019, The Common House. Unit 5E, 5 Punderson’s Gardens, London E2 9QG

Technology appears as either promise or threat – the rise of the robots means either a fully automated luxury future without work, or basically the Terminator film franchise. Where the left was dominated by a pessimistic vision of technology in the not too distant past, the current moment is one full of visions of life after work as technology does all the toil and, to top it off, solves climate change without us having to change anything else. In both visions, technology is this thing out there, separate from us; either a machine to enslave us or one to liberate us.

But is this all there is to a radical politics of technology? How else can we understand the world and the complex of machines, algorithms and technologies we live with and through?

It is vital that we free our imaginations from the grip of capitalist realism (the idea that capitalism is the only option for organising society), and picture possible future worlds and the role that technology will play in them. But we must also keep our imagined worlds grounded in social and economic realities Not forgetting, for example, that we are living on a planet with limited natural resources, or that we have to consider how to make our imagined futures real.

At this one-day workshop of facilitated discussions we will explore some areas within the radical politics of technology: ways of understanding technology in the context of the labour process; how technology relates to ecological concerns; how it has been shaped by the social and economic relationships of capitalism and other hierarchical societies; and how we can shape it in future.

We will continue a discussion begun at an earlier event, Techno-Fantasies and Eco-Realities [https://www.weareplanc.org/blog/techno-fantasies-and-eco-realities/] – although if you missed that one, don’t worry, this one will have a stand-alone agenda. We intend to get down to specifics, with sessions on particular types of technology, some historical examples and some key debates within the politics of technology.

Colindale councillors slam “garbage mountain” after bins not collected on Grahame Park

Colindale’s Labour Councillors have expressed outrage after images on Facebook showed heaps of uncollected rubbish on the Grahame Park estate. Bin collections in Barnet have been severely disrupted since new rounds were established by Barnet Council on 4 November. The rubbish has finally been collected this week, but other estates and households across the borough are still not being collected on the correct days.

Cllr Gill Sargeant said:
“These pictures remind me of the winter of discontent! Barnet’s Conservative administration are so hopelessly incompetent that a garbage mountain has grown over the Christmas period – they are incapable of collecting rubbish properly. This is a costly error from an  incompetent administration.”

Cllr Nagus Narenthira added:
“Residents are treated with contempt by the Conservatives who promised to maintain weekly bin collections. They should not have to put up with this.”

Cllr Zakia Zubairi also added:
“We cannot allow this to continue. We will end up with the rat infestations that the Conservatives promised us would not happen. They said before the election last year that they would keep the same weekly bin collections, but they’ve broken their promise and halved the collections for flats, and we now have a terrible mess.”

 

Photo credit: Zara Winstone

Our first meeting of 2019

Agenda for Monthly Meeting on 10th of January 2019, 7pm at Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, Finchley

07:00 PM

1

Attendance and apologies

07:05 PM

2

Review minutes of previous meeting

07:10 PM

3

Matters Arising from the Minutes

07:15 PM

4

Ideas for community organising with Cllr. Sara Conway

07:45 PM

5

Antifacism and antiracism – Building the demo on the 17th and solidarity with migrants

08:05 PM

6

Continuing the #kickoutcapita campaign

08:20 PM

7

Motions and Reports

08:30 PM

8

Meeting Ends

Prosperity and justice: A plan for the new economy

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice is a landmark initiative to
rethink economic policy for post-Brexit Britain

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice was established in autumn 2016 in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The purpose of the Commission was broadly conceived: to examine the challenges facing the UK economy and to make recommendations for its reform.

The members of the Commission come from all walks of life and different political viewpoints. They voted on different sides of the EU referendum, and the Commission is independent of all political parties.

The Commission’s Interim Report was published in September 2017, setting out our analysis of the condition of the economy and the causes of its weak performance. The Commission has also published 17 discussion and policy papers to inform its work and to stimulate public debate. These papers provide more detail on the analysis and proposals made in this report. The Interim Report and full set of papers are available at here.

Given the breadth of Commissioners, we have reached a remarkable degree of agreement, which we hope can be reflected in a wider national consensus about a new direction for the UK economy. Our proposals are deliberately ambitious. Taken together, we believe they offer the potential for the most significant change in economic policy in a generation. We hope that this report can spark a national conversation on why we need a change of direction, and what that direction should be.

Solidarity with refugees and migrants: Stop the scapegoating!

Protest at the Home Office on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 6 PM – 7 PM

Join the protest at 6pm at the Home Office in London to protest in solidarity with refugees and migrants and to challenge the disgusting racist scapegoating being used by the Tory government and the establishment. Outside of London? Contact us if you are planning a local protest on the day in your town or city.

The establishment has whipped up a frenzy of racism towards refugees and migrants after a hundred or so refugees were reported to have crossed the Channel since Christmas Day. This latest attack on refugees and migrants comes off the back of the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ that has aimed to create a climate of division.

Yet in reality, in 2015 1,015,078 refugees arrived in Europe, with more than 800,000 trafficked by sea from Turkey to Greece. Since then the numbers reaching Europe have plummeted. From the beginning of this year until mid‑September 20,120 arrived in Italy, down from 180,000 in 2016 and 20,760 arrived in Greece.

The number of clandestine arrivals at UK southern coastal ports in 2017-18 was 1,832, a 23% decrease on the 2,366 of these arrivals the previous year. Don’t believe the lies that are being used to dehumanise people who are escaping war and poverty to seek a better life for their families and blame them for the problems created by politicians and their austerity agenda. We say #RefugeesWelcome #MigrantsWelcome

Rail firms have paid over £1 billion to shareholders in last 6 years, finds TUC

As fares rocket up again today, the TUC publishes analysis showing how privatisation has failed.

The TUC today (Wednesday) reveals that the same private rail companies that are putting fares up by 3.1% today, have paid out over £1 billion in dividends to shareholders in the last six years.

The TUC is concerned that these shareholder pay-outs are excessive given the poor-quality service and high costs that workers face commuting by rail.

TUC analysis finds that UK commuters spend up to five times as much on season tickets as for European equivalents.

Someone on an average salary travelling from Chelmsford to London will have to fork out 13% of their pay for season tickets (£393 a month).

By contrast, comparable commutes would cost a mere 2% of the average salary in France, 3% in Ireland and 4% in Germany and Belgium.

ntry From To Monthly season ticket cost % of average earnings
UK Chelmsford London £393 13%
UK Manchester Liverpool £257 8%
France Étampes Paris £68 2%
Ireland Drogheda Dublin £116 3%
Germany Eberswalde Berlin £120 4%
Belgium Ghent Brussels £150 4%

Wages are set to grow by only 2.5% in 2019, while season tickets will go up by 3.1%. It will be the ninth time in the last ten years that rail fares have risen by more than wages.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The most reliable thing about our railways is the cash that goes to private shareholders each year. But with the most expensive fares in Europe, that can’t be right. It’s rewarding failure and taking money away that should be invested in better services.

“It’s time to take the railways back into public hands. Every penny from every fare should go back into the railways. The number one priority should be running a world class railway service, not private profit.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The British fare-payer has been battered by the toxic combination of gross mismanagement and profiteering by the private companies exploiting Britain’s rip-off railways.

“Our passengers have been left paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed-out and unreliable services and that is a national disgrace. The only solution is to sweep this whole racket away and return our railways to public ownership.”

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said:

“The train companies are telling passengers to pay more for a poorer service and that’s not a great offer, is it? Not for passengers – or for voters at the next election.

“Commuters complain about persistent delays and cancellations, and the consumer group Which? says the privatised train operators are one of this country’s least trusted groups – beaten to bottom place only by second-hand car dealers.

“Wages aren’t keeping pace with inflation and yet the train companies, and their chum the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, are pushing up prices yet again. What a way to run the railway!”

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:

“Millions of commuters will be staggered and furious that fares are rising yet again while privateers stuff shareholders pockets with cash.

“This situation is untenable, and the fact is only bringing the railways back into public hands will end the misery for so many each day.

“Britain and the British public deserve so much better than failing Chris Grayling and this useless Tory government.”

Unite national officer for the rail industry Harish Patel said:

“Given last year’s rail timetable chaos, presided over by the hapless transport secretary Chris Grayling, there should be no rail fare increases for hard-pressed travellers in 2019 – fares should have been frozen. The 3.1 per cent rise is an insult.

“As usual, the real ‘winners’ are the greedy shareholders of the privatised rail companies that have gobbled up more than £1bn in ill-gotten dividends in the last six years – money that could have gone towards freezing fares and boosting rail investment.

“Every day the case for the public ownership of the rail industry grows stronger, especially after the woeful performance of 2018.”

 

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