Category Archives: Workers Rights

Day of Public Campaigning for ❤UNIONS 2018

Join Barnet Trades Union Council this Saturday, February the 17th at 11am outside the Post Office 751 High Rd, London N12 8LF North Finchley for two absolutely great campaigns for this years’ event. Facebook event here.

One is a with our comrades from the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) – North Finchley post office is is under threat and we need the word out to the public to save it.

The second is a a historic struggle we’ve been supporting since day one: trade union rights for McDonald’s workers. McDonald’s European HQ is in Finchley and we can to take this fight straight to the business.

Solidarity with Afrin – Take Action Now

Urgent call for the people of UK, politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who take sides with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action to protest the bombing of Afrin.

Background
On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. A ground operation has now begun with the support of the Free Syrian Army.

The Turkish government announced that the operation, cynically dubbed “Olive Branch”, targets the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) and ISIS. In fact it is a war being waged on the people of Afrin and sabotages hopes for future peaceful co-existence between the Turks and the Kurds not just inside Turkey but also across the Middle East.

The Syrian government also denies being informed of the military operation targeting Afrin, despite a statement by the Turkish Government that “all parties involved were informed and the operation is being carried out with respect to Syria’s territorial integrity”.

A later statement said 108 targets belonging to Kurdish militants had been hit. The YPG said the strikes were being carried out indiscriminately, and have already killed 9 people, including 6 civilians, and wounded 13 (and rising).

The Turkish government is trying to justify this operation as being for the “protection of the border and security”. In fact, this is a wholly untrue justification of Turkey’s war on the Kurdish population. The real threat to the peoples of Turkey is not its Kurdish neighbours who fought against ISIS and other jihadist gangs in northern Syria and Rojava and built democratic regimes with other peoples of the region.

It is clear that these attacks are not aimed at protecting the security of Turkey because Turkey’s border security is not endangered. Afrin has been the calmest region in the whole Syrian civil war.

Turkey has been waging a war against the Kurdish population in Turkey and has launched these attacks to destroy the Kurdish democratic formations in Northern Syria, considering them as a “bad example”.

The responsibility of the killings lies with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those imperialist powers who consent to the attacks. We will not be part of it.

Turkey was placed back on the European Union Human Rights watchlist in April 2017 and has consistently breached Human Rights both within and outside its own jurisdiction. We oppose the UK government’s involvement in arms deals with Turkey and call on our Government to put a stop to these sales.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) calls on the people of the UK, including politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who take sides with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action against these attacks.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)

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http://spotturkey.co.uk/2018/01/21/solidarity-with-afrin/

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Send a message of protest to the Turkish Government using the email addresses below.
bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr
embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr

You can also send a letter to your local MP. If you are unsure what to write, you use the letter below. Also you can also find your MP here: https://www.writetothem.com/

Dear MP,

On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. This was followed by ground attacks on Sunday with civilian casualties already being reported. We urgently need you, as a Member of Parliament, to take some action to put an end to this bloodshed.

This act of unprovoked warfare by the Turkish state threatens to destablise one of the calmest regions throughout the whole Syrian civil war. Afrin has been a crucial safe haven for people fleeing ISIS in the region, and it must stay that way!

It is clear that the Turkish government’s claim that this war is to protect Turkey’s border and security is simply untrue, and it will have devastating consequences for not just the Kurdish people who will pay with their lives but also the people of Turkey and of the broader region.

The responsibility of the killings lie with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those powers who fail to oppose these attacks and take action to influence Turkey to cease its attacks on Afrin with immediate effect.

As a resident of your constituency, I am calling on you to:

raise this issue as a priority with the UK Government,
call for an end to all UK arms sales to Turkey,
publically condemn Turkey’s aggression on the Kurdish regions, and
take any other necessary action to end the bloodshed in Afrin.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Your name..

SERTUC: Changing the Narrative and Establishing Our Vision of the Future

Today’s meeting of South East Region Trades Union Congress (soon to be renamed TUC in London, East and South England, LESE) was made two exceptionally good addresses from Labour politicians.

The first talk was from Emma Dent Coad MP, who last year went from the elation of winning a shock election victory for Labour in the constituency of Kensington & Chelsea to the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. Emma, a lifelong resident of the borough, a student of architecture and a Labour councillor for twelve years could not be a better person to take on the K&C Tories. The high-handedness of their council administration was almost comically awful long before the tragedy of Grenfell. This was a council that accused Labour of virtue-signalling when they proposed letting a food-bank have the use of a council property, and then praised food banks as being superior to the welfare state. They were enthusiasts for the most extreme rightwing think tanks that permanently label working-class communities as “broken” by “dependency culture” and propose to fix them through means of pure social cleansing, with madcap plans to relocate Londoners to places as far afield as Hastings and Peterborough, places that they would feel completely lost in.

Emma argued that the ideological assault of the Tories cannot be fought on its own terms, which she likened to a sort of rightwing bullshit bingo. “We must challenge the social determinism of the elites… Keeping us debating in a middle ground does not help those we want to represent… We must change the narrative against the monetisation of housing and use our own language, not the language of the Tories.”. During the discussion, numerous delegates raised the ideological attacks that have come from the media, both against Emma and Labour and, horribly, the Grenfell survivors themselves, who are falsely presented as having in some way benefited from the fire. Emma said that this was part of the ideological offensive, and definitely something that is hardening up right now.

After Emma Dent Coad, we were treated to the first adress to SERTUC by Labour Shadow Chancellor for decades, John McDonnell. John informed us that had had the very great pleasure of speaking to City of London asset managers, and telling them he was absolutely in favour of investment from all investors that pay taxes and recognise unions. What he wanted to talk to us about, though, was PFI and the fallout of the Carillion collapse.

For 20 years, Jeremy and I campaigned against PFI in public services… which is all about making money by ‘sweating the assets’, which means cutting wages and spending.” He explained that the figures, which many people refuse to believe even when presented to them, that the private sector has made services anywhere between 40 and 70% more expensive. He said he had earlier in the week, he’d been discussing Carillion with Royston Bentham, a heroic worker blacklisted by that company for fighting for health and safety at work, just one example of a person who knows only too well working under these conditions are like.

Labour is going to sieze the opportunity presented by this emergency to finally end PFI. Not only will there be no more PFI contracts, but John pledged to bring services back in-house and “re-establish the credentials of direct labour and

Defaced branding is seen outside Carillion’s Royal Liverpool Hospital site in Liverpool, Britain, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

services. We will end privatisation, full stop.”. The bigger ideas for reforming industry and work included:

  • There will be reform of the financial auditors to put an end to the tax avoidance industry
  • Workers will not just get onto company boards, but there will be a workers’ right to buy to enable people to take ownership of businesses they work in
  • Trade union rights will be fully restored, with the Tory anti-union laws repealed within the first 100 days of the Labour government
  • A ministry of labour will be established that will enable and enforce sectoral bargaining

McDonnell emphasised, particularly in response to discussion from the floor, that a radical Labour government will only succeed if we rebuild the mass labour movement to allow it to survive, and that we need to set ourselves the target of doubling the size of our trade union membership. He rounded up by saying that Labour is holding a potentially ground breaking conference on alternative models of ownership on February the 10th that he urged people to attend, and left us with these words: “We’ve spent a lifetime working towards this, lets sieze the moment!”

Blacklist Support Group statement on Carillion

Carillon admitted in the High Court that they blacklisted workers who complained about safety on their building sites, while at the same time milking public sector contracts for millions. Workers on projects run by Carillon need to be paid and are entitled to their pensions but no more public money should be given to the bosses of the disgraced company. In any civilized society, these people would be facing criminal charges.

When you invite blacklisting human rights abusers to run the NHS and school meals, don’t be surprised when vampire capitalism attempts to suck the taxpayer dry. The government should bail out the NHS not Carillon or their bankers. The government should nationalise Carillon now at the current market value of their shares (nothing) and go further by banning all of the construction companies involved in the blacklisting human rights conspiracy from any publicly funded contracts.

From Freedom News: Hundreds refuse to cross picket line in wildcat Crossrail strike

More than 200 workers at the flagship rail construction project have downed tools today in solidarity with more colleagues who have been sacked and locked out.

The dispute blew up after Balfour Beatty made 54 workers redundant at short notice yesterday and a further 50 were locked out, allegedly at the behest of blacklisting-linked boss Gerry Harvey.

The job cuts came just days after electricians at their Woolwich Station in London had filed for an industrial action ballot over pay and finishing bonuses via union Unite. There had also been complaints over the list of who was to be canned, with long-term workers and shop stewards made redundant while new workers were retained.

Around 150 electricians walked out in solidarity today at Woolwich, with more than 70 joining them from sites at Plumstead, City Airport and North Woolwich, according to construction industry and anti-blacklisting activist Dave Smith.

Talking to union-news.co.uk Smith said: “We are told blacklisting is a thing of the past but today’s anti-union hostility is plain for everyone to see.”

Balfour has said the redundancies were part of standard operations, saying “we have always been clear that our works would start to wind down towards the end of this year” and that consultation had started in November.

Site sources explained however that problems with pay rates had been bubbling since the summer and Balfour’s refusal to engage properly with requests for a completion bonus as work begins to wind down has left “feelings running pretty high.”

Industry reports suggest that bosses are keeping a “close eye” on the situation as they fear calls for finishing bonuses could spread to other sites.

Update: A mass solidarity picket has been called for Thursday December 14th, 6.30am at the Whitechapel station site.

Close the Gap public petition

  • BT is a multinational FTSE 100 company and is the leading telecommunications brand in the UK.
  • BT uses agency staff from Manpower, with many earning as little as the Government’s legal minimum rate of £7.50 per hour.
  • The vast majority of these agency staff are employed on Pay Between Assignment contracts which means they are exempt from equal pay protection. As a result, they are paid less for carrying out the same tasks as their colleagues employed directly by BT.
  • We, the undersigned, call on BT and Manpower, to ensure that Manpower workers are paid at least the real Living Wage rate of £8.75 per hour and cease using exploitative Pay Between Assignments contracts.

New Deal For Working People March & Rally

Save the date! The TUC is holding a national march and rally on Saturday 12 May 2018 in central London.

All workers deserve a great job so everyone has a chance to progress and get on in life.

The TUC will be joining with our unions and thousands of supporters. Together we will call for more and better jobs, and a more equal, more prosperous country. We want you to join us.

Speakers at the rally will include TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, union leaders and frontline workers.

The family-friendly event is part of the TUC Great Jobs Agenda campaign.

Two-thirds of zero-hours workers want jobs with guaranteed hours, TUC polling reveals

Two-thirds of zero-hours workers want jobs with guaranteed hours, TUC polling reveals

  • Only 25% say they prefer being on zero-hours contracts
  • More than half are thinking about quitting their jobs
  • Government should ban zero-hours contracts, says TUC

Most people on zero-hours contracts are not on them by choice, new TUC polling has revealed today (Monday).

The poll shows that two-thirds (66%) of zero-hours workers would rather have a contract with guaranteed hours. And just one in four zero-hours workers (25%) say they prefer being on zero-hours contracts.

The survey shows that the main reason people are on zero-hours contracts is because it is the only type of work available to them. More than half of zero-hours workers (53%) are thinking about quitting their job over the coming year.

Rights at work:

The polling found that many zero-hours workers are missing out on basic rights at work:

  • Only 1 in 8 (12%) say they get sick pay.
  • Only 1 in 14 (7%) would get redundancy pay.
  • Two-fifths (43%) say they don’t get holiday pay.
  • Half (47%) say they do not get written terms and conditions.
  • Just 1 in 20 (5%) say they have the right to a permanent contract after working the same hours consistently.

‘Last minute working’:

The poll also reveals the ‘last minute’ nature of zero-hours working. More than half (51%) of zero-hours workers have had shifts cancelled at less than 24 hours’ notice. And nearly three-quarters (73%) have been offered work at less than 24 hours’ notice.

Making ends meet:

Most zero-hours contract workers (59%) want more hours. The majority (54%) say they find it difficult to pay bills because they can’t get enough work. But any requests for additional shifts are as likely to be rejected as accepted.

Nearly two-fifths (38%) of zero-hours workers say they wouldn’t be able to cope with an unexpected bill of £500.

The TUC says the government should clamp down on zero-hours working in its forthcoming response to the Taylor Review.

The TUC estimates that zero-hours working costs the exchequer £1.9bn a year. This is because zero-hours contract workers earn significantly less than regular employees and therefore:

  • pay less tax,
  • pay less national insurance,
  • are more reliant on tax credits.

Median pay for a zero-hours worker is a third (£3.50) less an hour than for an average employee.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Most people on zero-hours contracts are not on them by choice. They’d much rather have the security of guaranteed hours and the same rights as employees.

“The so-called ‘flexibility’ these contracts offer is one-sided. Many zero-hours workers have shifts cancelled at the last minute. And lots are struggling to make ends meet.

“Now’s the time for the government to ban zero-hours contracts, as they have done in other countries like New Zealand. Every job should be a great job – but far too many workers in the UK are being treated like disposable labour.”

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